607: Marie Forleo on Everything Is Figureoutable, Improving Your Mindset, and Becoming a Time Genius

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Marie Forleo on Everything Is Figureoutable, Improving Your Mindset and Becoming a Time Genius
Wellness Mama » Episode » 607: Marie Forleo on Everything Is Figureoutable, Improving Your Mindset, and Becoming a Time Genius
The Wellness Mama Podcast
The Wellness Mama Podcast
607: Marie Forleo on Everything Is Figureoutable, Improving Your Mindset, and Becoming a Time Genius
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I’m excited today to finally sit down and chat with Marie Forleo. I’ve followed her for over a decade and we’ve crossed paths in the business world, but we finally get to talk in person. Marie is a New York Times best-selling author, has an award-winning TV show, and was named one of INC’s 500 fastest-growing companies.

You may have heard of her popular program B-School that’s helped nearly 80,000 people start (and grow) their dream businesses. Her other program, Time Genius, is especially relevant to moms. This program helps people reclaim their time and skyrocket their joy and productivity (in or out of the business world).

Our focus today is on her book “Everything is Figureoutable,” and how we can all harness the power of our inner dialogue to change our lives. The message behind the meaning of that title is inspiring and I think you’ll find it really encouraging. We also go deep on listening to our inner voice, embracing failure as a positive, and overcoming imposter syndrome.

Even if you don’t have plans to start your own business, these principles can apply to all of us. Especially as we model for and help guide our children as they grow. I really enjoyed my conversation with Marie today and I hope you’ll join me and listen in!

Episode Highlights With Marie

  • Why she was an original member of the smurf fan club
  • Her own entrepreneurial journey
  • Why she doesn’t feel that our current educational model prepares us for how to best contribute to the world in a meaningful way
  • How to learn to listen to the small voice inside
  • Getting through imposter syndrome and learning to listen to our intuition even if we are scared
  • Failure = a faithful attempt in learning and how to reframe failure and learn from it
  • Clarity comes from engagement, not thought
  • Her time management tips from time genius
  • The most powerful words in the universe

Resources We Mention

More From Wellness Mama

Read Transcript

Child: Welcome to my Mommy’s podcast.

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Katie: Hello, and welcome to “The Wellness Mama Podcast”. I’m Katie from wellnessmama.com, and I’m here today with someone who I have followed for literally over a decade and have known and, sort of, crossed paths with quite a bit but never gotten to chat with in person until today. I am here with Marie Forleo, who was named by Oprah as a thought leader for the next generation. She’s one of INC’s 500 fastest-growing companies, and she has a New York Times best-selling book, “Everything is Figureoutable,” as well as an award-winning show, “MarieTV,” and her own podcast as well. And she’s helped nearly 80,000 people start and grow their dream businesses through her program called B-School. And she also has a program that’s, I think, especially relevant to moms called Time Genius that helps people skyrocket their joy, their productivity, and, in the business world, their profits.
But in this episode, we go deep on “Everything is Figureoutable,” on improving mindset and becoming a Time Genius, and she talks about her own entrepreneurial journey and story. We talk about how the education system doesn’t necessarily set us up for success in adult life but ways that we can prepare ourselves and our children. We talk about learning to listen to that small voice inside our intuition even if we’re scared. She talks about the gift of failure and her acronym for that being a Faithful Attempt in Learning and how to reframe and learn even when things get tough. She talks about the idea that clarity comes from engagement, not from thought. We talk about taking responsibility for our lives and the difference between fault and responsibility. And then we talk about time management and the most powerful words in the universe. So it was, like I said, a joy to get to talk to Marie. I’ve known her for a long time in the business world, and it was a joy to chat with her in person today. So without any further wait, let’s join Marie. Marie, welcome. Thanks so much for being here.
Marie: Oh my goodness, Katie, thank you so much for having me. It’s an honor.
Katie: Well, I am excited to learn from you today, and so much we can cover. I have followed you for literally over a decade, so very excited to chat with you today. Before we jump into all the fun stuff though, I have a note that you were an original member of the Smurfs Fan Club, and I have to hear about this because this is a fact about you I did not know.
Marie: So, I was obsessed with the Smurfs when I was a little kid. You know, I was a child of the ’80s and, of course, the ’90s a little bit later on, and the Smurfs were just these really magical little characters, and I was enthralled with the show. So, of course, anytime my parents would take me out and there was potentially, like, the little Smurf figurines that were available at that time, I would get them, and I’d beg for as many as possible. And then, I don’t know how I found out, Katie, about this, but there was, like, an original fan club where they would send you a printed newsletter. I remember, like, I think the signup gift was a blue Velcro little wallet. It was this whole thing, and they would have different stories in the newsletter. And I don’t know how I learned about it, but I made my parents get it for me. I’m sure it was really inexpensive, but it was super cool. And when I think about it now in terms of entrepreneurship and where we are, you know, 30, almost 40 years later, you know, continuity, Netflix, all the things that have you subscribe to them, I’m like, “The Smurfs were doing this way back in the day. They were ahead of the curve.” So, it was a really fun memory from my childhood. And I still have about 80 or so figurines collected that I will not let go of.
Katie: Oh my gosh, that’s so fun, and probably an early entrepreneurship lesson before you even thought of it as such.
Marie: Totally. It planted some seeds.
Katie: I love that. Well, on the note of entrepreneurship, I’ve heard you talk before about kind of your entrepreneurial journey and how what you learned in school didn’t necessarily prepare you for what you were gonna do in adult life. And this is something I talk about a lot from a mom’s perspective, and also I think about a lot with my own kids. So, I would love to kind of first of all hear a little bit about your journey for people who aren’t familiar with you, and maybe some advice for moms who are, like, wanting to maybe branch out into that entrepreneurial world.
Marie: Yes. So, for me, you know, I’ve always been a person that has a lot of energy. I always wanted to earn a good living and I wanted to make a difference in the world, but I didn’t quite know how to do that. And I don’t think that our current educational system prepares us very well as young people to figure out exactly who we are and how we can contribute best in this particular society. And so when I graduated from school, my first gig was on Wall Street, on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange, and I was really grateful to have that job. I am the first in my family to ever go to college, so it was like this big honor to be in such a mecca, a kind of place of so much energy and concentration, you know, in the middle of Manhattan in New York City. And I remember going to work every day, Katie, and, like, putting on my game face, right? And doing my very best to bring my energy, and to try and learn, and to be available, but it was a really interesting environment. First of all, it was 99.9% male. It was pretty intense and harsh. There was, you know, just a lot of guys quite frankly, coming onto me all the time and trying to battle to be taken seriously. I actually even at that point, I had really long hair when I got there, and one of my methods for trying to get to be taken seriously was I actually cut off all my hair, and I had a pixie cut, because it was just like, I was trying to be like, “Don’t look at the outside, like I wanna be here to perform.”
And I started noticing a few things. One was that while the folks around me financially made enormous amounts of money, like more money than I could have ever imagined in my life, I got the sense that spiritually and emotionally they were bankrupt. And the way I figured that out was that they would pine for these two weeks off every year, and that’s the only thing that they could think about, you know, and then at about 4:00 every day, the bell would ring, and basically what you did was you go to strip clubs and you start snorting cocaine. And it was just like this entire culture, this kind of toxic culture. And I kept hearing this voice inside of me, Katie, that’s like, “This isn’t who you are. This isn’t what you’re meant to do. This isn’t who you’re supposed to be.” But that little small voice inside also wasn’t telling me what else I was supposed to do instead. And so that voice kept whispering and whispering, but it kept getting louder and louder, and I tried to push it away and ignore it because again, this was a steady job, health benefits, a paycheck, things that most of us can be very grateful for.
Until one day I remember being on the floor and I started to feel really physically ill. I had trouble breathing, I was a little dizzy, and now I can look back on it and see that I was having a little bit of a panic attack, but at the time I didn’t have that language. And I said to my boss, I said, “Hey, is it okay if I just run outside and go get some coffee, I’ll be back in five minutes?” He’s like, “No problem.” And so, Katie, I left the floor and I didn’t go to get coffee, but I made a beeline to the nearest church. It was actually Trinity Church on the corner of Broadway. And I had just graduated from a Catholic university, and so I had been trained at that point, you know, in a moment of crisis that you look up for some help, for some guidance. And I remember sitting on that church, on the church steps, and crying my eyes out. I had like one of those dark blue blazers on with the little badge on the side that all the traders had. And I felt like such a failure because I knew how lucky I was to have a job, and I didn’t wanna bring shame upon my family because they worked so hard to put me in school, but the truth was I was miserable and I couldn’t make sense of it.
And so the first piece of guidance that I got was to call my dad because he, in particular, was someone who I didn’t wanna disappoint because I saw my entire life how hard he worked to take care of our family, and the thought of me just like quitting a job and not having any other way to support myself sounded really disrespectful. And so I called my dad and I was sobbing and doing the ugly cry with the snots coming outta the nose, and I was like, “Dad, I’m so sorry but I hate it, and I don’t wanna do this, and I don’t wanna bring shame on our family.” And I was on a flip phone at the time. You gotta get this is the late ’90s. And I took a pause, and he broke in, and he’s like, “Rie, you gotta calm down, stop crying.” He’s like, “You’ve been working since you were 9 years old. You’ve been babysitting since you could go out and babysit. I’m not worried about you finding a way to keep a roof over your head.” He goes, “But you have to listen to me. You’re gonna be working for the next at least 40 years of your life and you have to find something that you love because when you find something that you love to do, you’re never gonna feel like this. It’s not even gonna feel like work. Sure, it’s gonna be hard at times, but it’s not gonna make you physically ill. And so if this job is making you this sick, and you’re hearing these voices inside that tell you it’s not for you, then you need to have the courage to quit and find what you’re meant to do.”
And, you know, he didn’t promise me that I could come home. He was very clear that I was gonna have to figure it out on my own, but Katie, he gave me such a huge permission slip in that moment. And even though I didn’t have an answer for what I was supposed to do instead, that truth that he spoke, that I was gonna be working for the next at least 40 years of my life, and that I had to make it my mission to figure out what I was gonna love, really rang true for me, even though I didn’t know how to execute on that. And so what I did next was I just kind of took a step back and I said, “Okay. I’ve always been a very creative person.” When I was young, I studied art. I thought I was gonna be an animator or a fine artist as an adult, but I also really loved business and I loved commerce, and there was something about that energy that really attracted me as well. And so I said, “Okay. Well, what’s the world that puts two of these together?” Women’s magazines and publishing. There’s the advertising side, there’s the editorial side. I said, “Okay. This is probably where I should go next.” And so I worked for a temp agency and I told them, “Please, any magazine you can get me into, just get a foot in the door.”
And I eventually got a position as an ad sales assistant at “Gourmet” magazine, which was part of Conde Nast Publications. I was really excited. Got into this new environment. This was much more balanced, right? Rather than 99.9% men, it was actually women who were leading the team. There was a woman publisher. My direct boss was a woman who was incredible. And I was like, “Okay. This is awesome, right? This is, like, where I’m supposed to be. This is gonna be amazing.” And I started doing my work, and those voices came back again, Katie, like, “Marie, this isn’t who you are. This isn’t what you’re supposed to do. This isn’t who you’re supposed to be.” And I was starting to feel panicked inside because it’s not like I didn’t wanna work, I was a very hard worker, but I couldn’t stop this voice that started getting louder and louder, and I also couldn’t deny the fact that I found it really boring going to the same place day in and day out. But again, I had that inner conflict. So grateful to have a job, so grateful to have a paycheck, so grateful to have the health benefits, but my soul felt like it was dying.
So, I stepped back and I said, “Okay. This definitely isn’t it.” I said, “Well, what if I’ve just been leaning too much on my, kind of, businessy side?” I was on Wall Street, it’s a lot of numbers. Ad sales is a lot of numbers, very big emphasis on sales and meeting quotas. I said, “What if my creativity’s starving?” So, I went to the HR department and said, “Hey, if you have any positions on the editorial side of any magazine, even if it’s lower pay, I’ll take it.” I just wanted the experience. I wanted the opportunity. So, eventually a job came along at “Mademoiselle” magazine, a fashion magazine, and I was like, “Oh my goodness. This has gotta be it, right? I’m gonna be working with designers, going to fashion shows, like, photo shoots, all this thing. It’s a dream job for any young woman in New York City.” And so I get the job, and for a while it was, it was exciting, it was really fun. I met all kinds of new people. But once again, those voices came back, “Marie, this isn’t who you are. This isn’t what you’re supposed to do. This isn’t what you’re meant to be.”
And Katie, I have to tell you this, at that point, I started to panic. I was like, “Am I broken? Is there something, like, cognitively wrong with me?” Why, when all of my other friends…and this was a few years that had gone by since I had graduated school. Everybody’s getting promotions, everybody’s getting married and having kids, they’re kind of building these full lives, and here I am wanting to quit again. And so, it was really becoming disturbing, and I felt like such a loser to be quite honest with you. And one day I was on the internet probably when I shouldn’t have been, and I stumbled upon an article about a new profession at the time called life coaching. You have to get for context, this is 1999. This is before anybody had heard of this. And when I read this article about this new profession that you could work from anywhere, that you would strategically help people build into these big, bright futures, I’m not kidding, it was as though the clouds parted and little angels came out and shot sunbeams into my heart. It was like, “Ah.” And that little voice inside was like, “Marie, this is who you are. This is what you’re meant to do. This is who you’re supposed to be.”
But in the next breath, the critical voice in my mind took over and it sounded like this, “Marie, who do you think you are to do this? Who the heck is gonna hire a 23-year-old life coach? You haven’t even lived a life yet. You’re piles and piles in debt. You can’t seem to hold down a job. This is just one more stupid thing that you’re going after that you’re gonna fail at.” So, I had all that negativity inside, and quite frankly, it sounded logical, and it made a lot of sense because the facts backed it up. But at the same time, I couldn’t deny how right this felt in my bones, and I couldn’t deny how I felt like I was catching a glimpse into my future, even if it didn’t make logical sense.
And so, what I did was I actually did a really smart move, which for all your listeners, if they are either aspiring entrepreneurs, or they’re entrepreneurs looking to take it to that next level, this is something that I did that I will always thank myself for, is I took action in that moment, I invested in myself, and I signed up for a three-year coach training program. Couple things that were important there. In the environments that I had been in previous to that, Katie, I wasn’t really around entrepreneurs, right? All of my friends were in more standard corporate jobs. And there’s nothing wrong with standard corporate jobs, they’re amazing, it’s just not a fit for who I was or who I was supposed to be. And so, I couldn’t get out of that modality of thinking because I wasn’t having conversations, I wasn’t seeing anyone else living into a different possibility, so it was really hard for me to change my own thinking and behavior. And when I signed up for that coach training program, I started to really understand what was possible for me outside of everything I experienced before.
And so, about six months went by and eventually the HR department called me and they had this huge promotion for me at “Vogue” magazine. And so, this, Katie, was my fork in the road. Do I stay on this safe path of working for magazines and then saying yes to this promotion, which was a lot more money and more prestige and, you know, kind of living my life for what other people would think of me and, you know, “Oh, look at how great her job is, and it’s so glamorous,” and XYZ, or would I quit and do this completely weird, unheard of life coaching thing that I have no idea how to do and that I would probably fail at, but that felt right? And so I thought about it for probably two minutes. I turned down that promotion. I quit working at magazines, and I went back to waiting tables and bartending, which is how I helped put myself through college, and I committed to building my business during the day. And so that was over 22 years ago, and it was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.
Katie: I love that story because it, like, really shows the inner struggle that you went through in figuring that out that I think resonates with a lot of people. And I know for me, I had a similar experience of that moment of shifting, of realizing it wasn’t about being a good…I heard this that it’s not about being a good descendant, but becoming a good ancestor and, like, making your future self, and making if you have them, your kids proud, not living for what the expectations of the past are of you, which I think also often puts you in alignment with, like, you have that fear around your family not approving, but often it leads to a better relationship with your parents as well in the long term. I’d love to hear if you have any tips for people on learning to listen to and nurture that voice inside? Because I feel like often it can be hard to hear. And it also sounds like you had some imposter syndrome when you first started, and I know this is a big thing for anybody who’s trying to make that leap into a new anything. So, any tips on listening to our inner voice or getting through imposter syndrome?
Marie: Yeah. So, one of the things about imposter syndrome first is that research shows that up to 70% of us experience it, some form of feeling like we don’t have what it takes to do the thing that we really wanna do, or if we have achieved some level of success, we’re afraid that everyone’s gonna find out that we don’t know what the heck we’re doing, and that we’re completely lying, and we’re a total fraud, and we’re gonna lose everything that we’ve worked so hard for, that we don’t necessarily deserve to be around the people that we’re around, we don’t necessarily deserve to advance, we don’t have what it takes to reach those highest levels.
So, if anyone here is experiencing that, anyone listening right now, I just want you to know that you’re in very good company. Some of, like, our most celebrated artists, everyone from J.Lo, I believe, to Jodie Foster, to Maya Angelou, you know, people who have made incredible impact on our culture in different ways have very clearly stated that they have felt that in many ways, and I think it’s particularly strong for women that we can often feel just based on so much history going back hundreds if not thousands of years, where basically in most of our cultures we don’t have a lot of power, and it’s only fairly recently that we’re getting into certain rooms, or we’re asserting our worth, or we’re leading in ways that we haven’t necessarily led before, that it’s really a thing to pay attention to because it can lead to underearning, undercharging, and really not valuing your worth, and also not giving yourself permission to enjoy the fruits of your labor, and giving yourself permission to speak up and to take a stand for the vision that you have for your company or your community or your family at large.
So, that’s just a little bit of an underscore on this notion of imposter syndrome, but I wanna speak to how can we start to listen to our intuition because that’s really big. I have such a gratitude for my mom in this. You know, I grew up in New Jersey, and where I grew up as a young girl, it was possible for me to walk to school, and I was always a very independent one, right? And I wanted to go to school on my own, even if…I was like 4-and-a-half when I started kindergarten, so I was young, and my mom was like, “There’s no way I’m letting you walk to school.” Even though it was a couple blocks, she’s like, “No.” And eventually, I think I was like 5-and-a-half, maybe 6, where I was like, “You gotta let me walk to school.”
And so we would have these battles, and she told me this, and it was the beginning of me understanding that we all have this little voice inside and learning how to trust it, and she told me, she said, “Look, I’ll let you walk to school if you make me this promise, that if you’re ever walking along the path and you’re not gonna go off the road, you’re gonna go straight to school, that if anyone ever pulls up alongside you or tries to talk to you and you have a little voice inside that says, ‘Run,’ or that says, ‘You’re not safe,’ you’re gonna listen to it and you’re gonna run, or you’re gonna scream, or you’re gonna do whatever.” And she said, “If anyone ever pulls up in a car and tells you to get in and you hear that little voice says something is going…an alarm going off,” she taught me, she said, “that’s God speaking directly to you. You have a direct line. You don’t necessarily need to go to church, you don’t need to open it,” but she was like, “that’s the direct line.” And so I learned this, Katie, throughout my whole life that there was this thing as an inner voice, and she told me, “When you listen to it, it will always lead you on the right path. And if you fail to listen to it or you ignore it, there’s gonna be pain and suffering.”
And so some of the tips are, number one, I think most of us have that awareness of some type of voice inside. And I think for people that don’t feel like they have one or they don’t know how to listen to it as well, if they’re not as practiced with it, a good place to start is to think back through your history, kind of go through the file folders in your mind. Was there a time that you can remember where there was an inner alarm going off, something telling you, “Mm-mm, don’t say yes to being with that person, or that particular deal, or going on that trip,” or whatever it was that you overrode that feeling or that little voice because some part of your ego wanted to be satisfied, or someone told you, “No, you must say yes. This is the best opportunity ever.” Or there was some type of, I’d say ego-based carrot that was hanging in front of you that you just drove right through it and then you paid the price, whether it was a painful lesson, or there was actually money loss involved, or some other kind of challenge where you’re like, “Gosh darn it, I should’ve listened to that little voice.” Because I think if we look in our past, we all have examples of that, and that gives you the proof you need to go, “Oh, that’s what my voice sounds like.”
And here’s another tip that’s been true for me in my world. My inner voice, she’s not panicked, she’s also not critical. She’s very wise, she’s very persistent, but she doesn’t speak to me harshly, she doesn’t belittle me, she doesn’t criticize me or other people. It’s just this still small wise nudge that comes from within, and it will get louder and stronger, but she’ll never scream and she’ll never yell. And if my ego or mind wants to override her, then she doesn’t even say I told you so. It’s just like, “It’s okay, just listen closely next time.”
Katie: I love that. And I also know that it seems like a lot of your message, which I think is the most important part, is the mindset piece because, you know, we can talk about tactics and strategy all day long, but I feel like the mindset is the driver of a lot of that. And you explain so much about mindset so well, and I know you have coached literally thousands of people when it comes to mindset and business. And I love your saying, “Everything is figureoutable,” and your book by the same name. So, I would love to kind of delve into that, especially for people who maybe don’t have that mindset naturally. How do we cultivate that mentality that everything is figureoutable? And as a secondary to that, how do we help our children cultivate that from a young age? Because I think as someone who became an entrepreneur as an adult, I had to develop a lot of these mindset pieces later on, and undo some things I learned in childhood. And so I think a lot about how do I cultivate this in my kids when it seems like they come out of the box with so many of these things naturally, and we sort of untrain some of that, but how do we cultivate this in ourselves and in our children?
Marie: That’s a great question. So, I wanna talk briefly, just tell a quick story about where the phrase came from because I think it also could be illustrative of how we can teach our children or teach anyone around us this mindset without necessarily doing it so explicitly. So, I got this from my mom who’s an incredible woman. She had a really tough life growing up. She grew up the daughter of two alcoholic parents in the projects of Newark, New Jersey, and she really learned how to stretch a dollar bill around the block by necessity. And she had made herself a promise that when she was able, when she grew up, that she would find a way to make a better life. And Katie, one of my favorite memories with my mom was sitting at our kitchen table on Sundays clipping out coupons. Like, my mom loved to show me all the different ways that our family could save money. She’s one of the most frugal people you will ever meet.
And she also, she told me, she said, you know, “If you save up…” what were known as proofs of purchase, I don’t know if you were familiar with those, but basically they’re like, you know, little cards on the side of a carton or on a cereal box, that if you save them up and you mailed them in, brands would send you maybe cooking utensils or measuring spoons or a free cookbook or something like that. And one of my mom’s favorite possessions was this tiny little AM/FM transistor radio that she got for free from Tropicana orange juice. So, it looked like an orange. It had a red and white straw sticking outta the side. That was the antenna. And this thing was like her best friend in product form. It was like her get it done buddy. And I always knew that I could find my mom somewhere around the house or somewhere around the yard by listening for the sound of this teeny little radio.
One day I was walking home from school and I heard, like, music blaring off from the distance, which was not unusual. My mom loves to dance and loves music. And as I walk home and I get closer, I noticed the music was coming from a weird orientation. It was coming from high up above. And I’d look up and I see my mom perched precariously on the roof of our two-story house. I don’t see a ladder, I have no idea how she got up there. And there’s just her and this little tiny orange sitting next to her butt. And I was like, “Mom, are you okay? What happened? How did you get up there?” And my mom yells down, she’s like, “Rie, don’t worry about it. I’m fine.” She’s like, “I saw that our roof had a leak. I called the roofer. He said it was gonna be like 500 bucks. I said, ‘Screw that. I’m gonna do it myself.’” This was my mom.
Another day I come home from school and I get to my house and I hear there’s like music blaring from the back. And so I push open the door and I go to the back and it’s like, “I’m every woman.” You know, and I go, and it turns out she’s in the bathroom. And so I push open the bathroom and there’s dust particles in the air, and there’s pipes coming outta the wall. Like, it looked like a freaking bomb went off. And I was like, “Mom, what’s going on? Are you okay?” And she’s like, “Rie, don’t worry about it.” She’s like, “All the tiles, they had some cracks in them. I didn’t want the whole bathroom to get moldy, so I’m retiling the bathroom.” So, Katie, you have to understand that this is the 1980s, right? So this is like a pre-internet, pre-YouTube, pre-Google kind of world. She didn’t have access to any of it, and she’s also only high school educated.
So, one day, it was in the fall actually, and I was coming home from school and it was dark already, so it was a little spooky. And as I approached my house, something was different, something was wrong. It was completely dark, and…So, I walk into the house, afraid of what I might find, and I start hearing all these little click, click, clack, click, click, clack. And I follow the sound of these clicks and clacks into the kitchen. And I see my mom hunched over the kitchen table, and it looks like an operating room. She’s got screwdrivers, she’s got electrical tape, and then in about a dozen pieces is a completely dismantled Tropicana Orange.
And I stood there, and I was like, “Mom, are you okay? Like, that’s your favorite thing. What happened? Is it broke?” And she just put down her screwdrivers, and she looked at me, she’s like, “Rie, don’t worry about it. Everything’s fine. You know, the antenna was a little off, and the tuner was busted, so I’m fixing it.”
And I stood there, Katie, watching her work her magic for a few minutes, and then I finally thought to ask the question I should have always asked, which was this, “Hey, mom. How do you know how to do so many different things that you’ve never done before, but nobody’s showing you how to do it?” And she puts everything down, she looks at me and she says, “Rie, what are you talking about? Nothing in life is that complicated. You can do anything you set your mind to if you just roll up your sleeves, you get in there, and you do it. Everything is figureoutable.”
And I was like, “Everything is figureoutable? Like, everything is figureoutable? Oh my goodness, everything is figureoutable.” And so, all these little connections started making place, like, from, you know, at that particular time it was just trying to figure out who I was in the world. And then when I got older, you know, trying to figure out how do I even get into college, to how to get my first jobs, to how to get out of toxic relationships, and get into new ones, and eventually how to start the business that I have today.
And so, this little phrase, “Everything is figureoutable,” is so powerful. I don’t think, Katie, there’s a day that goes by that I do not use it personally or in the business. And, you know, you had asked this question about how do we teach this to our kids and, you know, how can we embed this in ourselves? And I think for me, the way that I’ve done it, the way that I’ve taught it to myself, and I keep reinforcing it, and then also teaching it to my team, and having it be alive in my family, is we literally say it out loud.
You know, the shiitake hits the fan for all of us so many times, right? In small ways, in big ways. And the moment that something happens where you find yourself in a corner, again, it could be, you know, a scheduling mishap where you’re, like, “Oh my goodness, I messed up,” to something really extraordinary that can be challenging beyond challenging, to take a deep breath, and to say to yourself or out loud if you’re with other people, “Everything is figureoutable. We may not have the answer right now, but we’re gonna be able to create it, we’re gonna be able to find it, we’re gonna be able to work together to create a way out of this, to transform it or transcend it.”
That phrase has a way of calming your amygdala, of having you get back in touch with your prefrontal cortex, which usually goes offline anytime we’re in extraordinary areas of stress or pressure or in fight or flight. And so, saying everything is figureoutable is a really practical and effective way to marshal your own resources, to remind yourself of your power, and then to also remind yourself that you don’t have to figure it out on your own. That you don’t necessarily have to have the answers, but you can create the answers, and you have people and support around you that will help you find a way ahead.
Katie: I love that. It sounds like your mom was an awesome model in that. And probably that’s another great thing we can internalize as parents, is if we model it, the kids are also more likely to pick it up as a lesson than even if we just tell them. And I think back as you were telling that story of things like learning how to replace the floors in my bedroom myself, just because I was like, “Well, I could wait six weeks, and have someone else do this, or I could just do it tomorrow if I figure it out.”
And it ended up being a great bonding experience with the kids, and they learned how to use saws, and we learned how to use all the tools, and it was so much fun. Thankfully, we now have the advantages of YouTube and Google to teach us all these things, but that’s so impressive that your mom figured it out on her own.
And I think another kind of puzzle piece that goes right along with that one is the lesson of embracing failure. And I know you’ve talked about this as well, or at least not being afraid of failure. I know I grew up in a very academic-oriented household where that was the focus, and failure wasn’t an option. Like, a 98 was not a good enough grade in a class. Like, there was a lot of pressure there.
And I had to learn as an adult to embrace the lessons of failure and realize at times, like, nothing’s gonna turn out perfect the first time every time, and to embrace the lessons of failure. But I think that’s a thing that can trip a lot of us up as well, and the thing that as kids get older can become scary for them. So, how have you learned to coexist in a happy way with failure and learn from it?
Marie: Yeah, so failure, I have this acronym, and we talk about this in the book, “Everything is Figureoutable,” but failure and just the word fail can be seen through the lens of it is a faithful attempt in learning. That’s it. A faithful attempt in learning. And when you look at it through that lens, you’re actually quite brave, you’re courageous, you’re strong because you have moved through the inertia of being where you are and said, “Oh, I think there might be another way,” or, “I think this could work,” or, “I think this might get me out of my pain,” or, “I think this might produce the growth that I’m so excited about.”
And so, if you look at fail as a faithful attempt in learning, you’re actually still on the learning journey, and then you can use whatever that pain was, or the disappointment, or the embarrassment, or whatever could be deemed as “negative” as some feedback to say, “Okay, you’re still on your learning journey.” I know for me, like, I’m learning every single day.
There’s times when whether I’m following a recipe, or I’m doing something in my business and I have this idea that it could possibly work, but it might be a flop. And I’m like, “Okay, now I have a decision to make.” Am I gonna let that stop me? No, I’m gonna keep moving. I’m gonna say, “What can I extract from this pain in the you know what?” Right? How can I squeeze whatever juice or lesson or insight out of this bit of uncomfortability or disappointment or rejection or embarrassment, and use it to get better?
And so, there’s a couple of great sayings, and I don’t know exactly who phrased this, it definitely wasn’t me, but it’s like, winners actually fail a lot more than losers do because winners are always doing something, and they’re always trying something. And so, the amount of fails that they have are many, but that’s how they get to be “winners” in the sense that they’re always growing, they’re always experiencing something new, they’re always stretching themselves to their outer limits. And people, I think, who are afraid to even try because they’re so petrified of failure, find themselves living with a lot of regret, and feeling and experiencing much smaller lives than they’re capable of.
Katie: And that dovetails with something else I’ve heard you talk a lot about, which is taking action to gain clarity versus waiting until we have clarity to take action. And I think, like, small examples in my house, like if I just start cleaning something or start a new project, I then have the momentum to figure out how to do the rest of it. Versus if I’m just trying to sit there and get stuck in the loop of, like, figuring it all out unless I just start taking action. But this applies, I feel like, in every area of life.
Marie: Yeah. So, this is… I live my life by mantras. As someone with ADHD, my brain can go in a lot of different directions at once. So, mantras are a really practical way for me to help keep myself on track, and for me to help internalize certain nuggets of wisdom that I have found to be really enlivening and energizing, and true over time.
And so, one of my favorites is this, clarity comes from engagement, not thought. Clarity comes from engagement, not thought. So, what does that mean? That means if you’re curious about a new business, if you’re curious about hiring someone, or experiencing what it would be like to add someone to your team, or to explore a new hobby, or to try something with your family, or maybe there’s a new parenting technique, or a new style of eating, or a new workout, rather than going down the research rabbit hole for a week or a month or six months, and talking to everybody about their opinion of it, clarity comes from engagement, not thought.
How can you get an action as quickly as possible? Can you volunteer? Can you sign up for a class? Can you go and try and start redoing your floor, even if it might not turn out that well? What is a way that you can take an action to physically start to get the feedback for yourself of whether or not this is a path for you to continue on, and to not have the stakes be so high, right? You don’t have to bet the farm.
If you’re curious about a business, that doesn’t mean that you have to take all of your life savings and pour it into your first idea. It might be around signing up for a class. It could be around getting a job with an entrepreneur and, like, testing out a new industry. There are literally limitless ways that you can activate on this notion that clarity comes from engagement, not thought. And I always encourage people to do so and make it low stakes, make it so that it’s fun so that you’re approaching it like a creative scientist. And what you’re interested in is the feedback of whether or not it feels like a yes for you, or whether or not it feels like a no.
And there’s one more layer that I haven’t talked about. I don’t ever think I’ve taught about this, but I think it’s really important. Clarity comes from engagement, not thought. Let’s say that you’re wanting to get into a new form of exercise. Let’s say that yoga is a thing that’s been attractive to you, but you’re like, “Oh, I don’t think I’m a yoga person,” and then you say, “Okay, clarity comes from engagement, not thought. I’m gonna go sign up for that yoga class at the local Y.” And you go to that yoga class, and for whatever reason, you don’t have the best teacher for you on that day. They might be a wonderful human, but it’s just not the best teacher for you.
And so, I would say clarity comes from engagement not thought. If you still have this pull to experience something, don’t quit too soon. Make sure that you give yourself enough opportunity to experiment with enough different types of people, or enough different experiences to really get that clarity you need. And I have two examples to back this up.
So, one, I was working on a particular project recently earlier this year where it was finding a creative writer to support something that I had already done and had already created, and just wanted to do kind of an iteration on it. And I was always skeptical of having other people help because I’m really particular with my work and I’m really, really specific about how I like my words to be formed together, especially in the written form, you know, my books and everything like that.
And so, we’d worked with one person and she was lovely, but it didn’t turn out the way I wanted it to, Katie. And I was like, “Oh, I…see, it’s not gonna work. It’s really not gonna work.” And then I spoke with another friend and colleague, and he’s like, “What are you talking about? That’s just one person, I know 30 others.” And he got me. He’s like, “Can I please experiment with you?” I was like, “Yeah, of course. Like, I wanna breakthrough on this.” And he was able to find me someone else who actually was the right fit.
So, it’s this notion of not quitting too soon. If there is an area that you wanna explore, whether it’s in your career or in your personal life, clarity comes from engagement, not thought. Don’t just take one class, don’t just try it one time. If it’s really important to you, and if it’s really important to your passion and where you wanna go, try a bunch of different things before you actually say, “No, it’s not for me.”
Katie: Such good advice. And I feel like that also touches on something we talked about in the beginning with you, like iterating your career path so many times, which is the idea of kind of taking that extreme responsibility for our lives, for our emotions, for the trajectory of our lives. And you’ve talked about this so well in the past too, of, like, the difference between fault and responsibility, and stepping into, like, ownership and responsibility for our lives.
And I’ve said on social media before, things like along the lines of happiness is a choice. And I’ve had people come back and say, “Well, that’s easy for you to say, you’ve never lost a child, which I actually have.” But things like that. I’m like, I think actually those really tough examples are perfect illustration of how we do actually have that choice, and we do have that responsibility. Not that we’re free from the hard things in life, but that we have so much freedom and responsibility in what we choose to do with it. And so, I would love to hear your take on that, taking extreme responsibility for our lives.
Marie: Yeah. And it’s a really important distinction that you mentioned there. So, here’s the thing. None of us are going to escape pain or hardship, or things that are gonna occur that are outside of our control. We’re gonna have loss, we’re gonna have grief, we’re going to have experiences that rock us to our core. And almost every person I have ever met, any person that I’ve ever interviewed or worked with or studied or admired or had a conversation with has historical trauma. They have things that have been really, really difficult to work through.
And it doesn’t matter your socioeconomic status, it doesn’t matter where you were born, it doesn’t matter how much money you earn, or your education, like, this is one of the great equalizers in human experience, and we need to have compassion for everyone. So, all that is true. And one of the greatest freedoms that we have as human beings, and one of the greatest gifts that I believe that we were gifted is this ability to choose how we’re gonna respond.
And so, taking responsibility for the quality of your life does not mean that you make yourself wrong or at fault, or that you blame yourself for anything that has happened to you, especially those things that are far outside of your control that you would never wish on your worst enemy. But taking responsibility for your experience of life simply means that you tap back into your heart and you remember that you have the power to choose how you’re gonna respond from here on out, who you’re gonna choose to be in response to what has occurred, and how you’re going to show up for the next steps of your life. That’s what it means. And I think that’s a very, very important distinction.
And it’s also important to remember that it’s okay to feel really disappointed. It’s okay and it’s natural to have deep grief. It’s natural to feel feelings like anger and to feel, like, “Why did this happen to me?” And so, all of those are really natural, normal, healthy emotions to experience. And at a certain point, it becomes healthy for us to then reclaim our power and say, “Okay, who do we wanna be now and next?”
And so, I think that is perhaps that nuanced piece. And that’s the piece where I always try and practice for myself because I don’t think there’s a person on the planet who hasn’t had an experience where they’re like, “What happened to me was painful. I would not choose that. I did not create that. I didn’t want it, but it happened.”
And I think that sense of, I think you called it almost radical responsibility, comes in saying, “I am bigger than my circumstances. I am greater than what has occurred. And I have a power in me that is not of me but is beyond me, and I can tap into that to be the most loving and present and capable person that I’m here to be.” And a lot of times that requires, Katie, I think a level of surrender and a level of humility, and a willingness to ask for help, a willingness to ask for a new perspective, and just a willingness to not be in a posture of being a victim in your own life.
Katie: Beautifully said.
This episode is brought to you by Sleep.me, formerly ChiliSleep. You’ve heard me talk about them before and with good reason. Science tells us that the best way to achieve and maintain consistent, deep sleep is by lowering core body temperature. Temperature-controlled sleep repairs muscle after a hard day’s work and improves cognitive function so you always start your day feeling sharp and alert. In fact, cooling my sleep environment has been the single most impactful change I’ve made for my sleep and I desperately miss my cooler sleep environment so much when I travel. ChiliSleep makes the coldest and most comfortable sleep systems available. They create the environment that meets the body’s natural need for lower core temperatures, promoting deeper, restorative sleep. ChiliSleep makes the OOLER, the Cube and Dock Pro Sleep Systems, which are all water-based, temperature-controlled mattress toppers that fit over your existing mattress to provide your ideal sleep temperature. These mattress pads keep your bed at the perfect temperature for deep, cold sleep. These sleep systems are designed to help you fall asleep, stay asleep and give you the confidence and energy to power through your day.
They also just launched the NEW Dock Pro Sleep System, which has two times more cold power than other models, is whisper-quiet and has a tubeless mattress pad design that allows for five times more cooling contact. Pair it with the new Sleep.me app for enhanced device control and sleep scheduling. I love all of these because they cool your bed and not your room. Head over to Sleep.me/wellnessmama to learn more and save 25% off the purchase of any new Cube, OOLER or NEW DOCK PRO Sleep Systems. This offer is available exclusively for Wellness Mama listeners — and only for a limited time!

This episode is brought to you by Four Sigmatic, the company that first introduced me to functional and medicinal mushrooms and whose products I’ve been using for almost a decade. Mushrooms are absolutely fascinating, being genetically closer to humans than to plants. The largest organism in the world is a mushroom and they allow trees and plants to talk to each other using something called mycorrhizal networks. Many types of mushrooms are also well studied for the benefits to humans, and widely used in many ancient medicinal traditions and cultures. Researchers has found that mushrooms have high amounts of ergothioneine and glutathione, both important antioxidants, that help fight age-related decline. I love eating culinary mushrooms but sometimes it can be hard to work them into my everyday diet, and specific mushrooms have additional more targeted benefits. That’s why I love Four Sigmatic products. They have a wide variety of beverages that incorporate these amazing superfood mushrooms and that taste amazing. On a typical day, I’ll drink a cup of their mushroom infused coffee or matcha with ingredients like Lion’s mane for focus or cordyceps for overall health. I also love winding down with a cup of their Reishi elixir, which helps me fall asleep easily and get more restorative deep sleep. I especially love their packets on the go because they are so easy to throw in my purse or my bag when I travel, and I’ll often just order a cup of hot water on the go and make some Lion’s Mane coffee on a plane. I also love mixing a packet of their coffee or matcha into a protein drink on the go for a protein-packed iced latte option. Speaking of protein, they have the only plant-based protein I like, with 7 functional mushrooms and adaptogens and the flavor is great. Check out all of their products at foursigmatic.com/wellnessmama and use the code wellnessmama for a discount!

I want to make sure we also get a little time to talk about your programs because you have one, I believe specific to time management called “Time Genius,” which I think is especially relevant to moms. And then you also have “B-School,” which is how I was first introduced to you. And I would love for you to just talk about those because I feel like they’re really valuable programs for people who might wanna enter various aspects of entrepreneurship or just use these tools in their lives.
Marie: Yeah. So, “Time Genius,” is our newest experience, and it’s basically anyone who wants to double to 10x their productivity in a fraction of the time without having the stress and the overwhelm. I found myself someone who first of all has studied time management and productivity for my entire career because I believe very, very deeply that our time is our most precious asset that is our most non-renewable resource, right?
You can always make more money 9 times out of 10. You can regain your health, you can rebuild your health. But when it comes to our time, each of us have a finite amount, and we don’t know how much we have and we don’t get it back. So, “Time Genius,” is really for anyone who wants to experience less overwhelm, less stress, less of feeling like you’re always behind and there’s always, you know, so much that you wanna do but you never get done, and you wanna be joyfully productive.
We’ve helped people reclaim, like, 72 hours a week that they didn’t even know that was flittering away. We have a lot of moms in that program who experience for the first time such a sense of guilt-free spaciousness, where it’s not like they’re in their business feeling like, “Oh my goodness, I should be with my kids,” and when they’re with their kids, they’re like, “Oh my goodness, I should be working on my business.” We help people clear away all of that, and the results happen really fast in five days.
So, you can go to jointimegenius.com if you wanna learn more. We’ve got lots of free resources that people can check out. Even if you never join the program, it’ll help you start to reset your time mindset in a really powerful way so that you’re not a part of the 24/7 hustle culture that I believe is really toxic, and it’s not sustainable, and so that you’re really aligning what’s most important with you with how you’re spending your precious time.
And then “B-School” is actually an incredible legendary experience. I think we’ve helped now over 80,000 entrepreneurs start and grow their dream business, built on their most precious gifts and talents, their values, their integrity, so they can both make money and change the world. It’s actually brand new this year, Katie. So, all B-Schoolers will have access to it and anyone that joins us. It is better than it’s ever been. But if you wanna have a business that not only helps you experience more freedom but more prosperity and more happiness, we give you the tools and the framework and the structure and the support to make that happen.
Katie: I will make sure there are links to both of those in the show notes. For you guys listening on the go, those are all at wellnessmama.fm along with links to a lot of the other things we’ve talked about. And a couple of final questions I’d love to ask toward the end of interviews, the first being if there is a book or a number of books that have really profoundly impacted your life, and if so, what they are and why?
Marie: So, I think one of my favorites is “The War of Art,” by Steven Pressfield. It is a small but mighty book. Anyone could read it probably in less than two hours or so. It’s a book that I reread about once a year. And Steven really outlines this notion of a force that he calls “the resistance.” And “the resistance” is something that we all face, whether we want to reshape our health, whether we wanna start a new business, whether we wanna overhaul our marriage or our way of eating, or any relationship with anyone in our life, including ourselves.
Any time that we’re about to bark upon some type of creative journey, we all experience that fear, “I’m not good enough,” imposter syndrome, or even just not knowing how to get started. And he categorizes all of those under this force called “the resistance.” And so, it’s this beautiful book about beating resistance to actually give the world the gifts that you’re here to give. And I think it’s awesome. So, that would be the book.
Katie: I will link that in the show notes as well. And lastly, any parting advice for the listeners today that could be related to everything we’ve talked about or entirely unrelated?
Marie: I would say this. There’s two things that I wanna share. One is that when you start thinking about how you wanna use your life, and what you wanna create next, is to really trust the dreams in your heart. Here’s one of the lessons that I’ve learned. You wouldn’t have the dream in your heart if you already didn’t have what it takes to bring it to life.
So, many of us can spend so much of our time doubting whether we have what it takes to make our dream come to life. And what I’ve seen time and time again in working with tens of thousands of people is your dream is in your heart for a reason, and it’s pointing you towards your soul’s purpose. So, you do have what it takes, but you’ve gotta activate on it.
And then the final thing I’d love to leave people with is just the power of this philosophy that everything really is figureoutable. It is so incredibly simple, yet so incredibly profound. And I wanna encourage you to say it to yourself. Say it when you’re having your morning coffee. Say it when you’re brushing your teeth at night. Say it when you’re standing in line at the bank or at the grocery store during the day. Say it when you’re vacuuming. Because here’s what I’ve seen to be true in my own life. The most powerful words in the universe are the words that you say to yourself. And that little phrase is the key to unlocking the greatest power and potential that you are already born with.
Katie: I love that as a perfect place to wrap up, especially that idea that what we say to ourselves are the most powerful words. I’ve seen that in my own life and in close friends and family as well. And I think to the degree that we can nurture and curate that inner voice, and the way that we talk to ourselves, we will see that exhibit in our external lives so, so much. And like I said, I’ve followed your work for over a decade and it’s been such a joy to actually get to chat with you face to face today. For those of you guys watching on video or listening on any podcast app, Marie, I know how busy you are, I’m extremely grateful for your time. Thank you so much for being here today.
Marie: Oh, thank you for your work that you do in the world. And I was looking at all of your channels and how much love and possibility that you spread in your community. So, thank you for having me on, Katie. It’s been a joy.
Katie: And thanks as always to all of you for listening and sharing your most valuable resources, your time, your energy, and your attention with us today. We’re both so grateful that you did, and I hope that you will join me again on the next episode of “The Wellness Mama Podcast.”
If you’re enjoying these interviews, would you please take two minutes to leave a rating or review on iTunes for me? Doing this helps more people to find the podcast, which means even more moms and families could benefit from the information. I really appreciate your time, and thanks as always for listening.

Thanks to Our Sponsors

This episode is brought to you by Four Sigmatic, the company that first introduced me to functional and medicinal mushrooms and whose products I’ve been using for almost a decade. Mushrooms are absolutely fascinating, being genetically closer to humans than to plants. The largest organism in the world is a mushroom and they allow trees and plants to talk to each other using something called mycorrhizal networks. Many types of mushrooms are also well studied for the benefits to humans, and widely used in many ancient medicinal traditions and cultures. Researchers has found that mushrooms have high amounts of ergothioneine and glutathione, both important antioxidants, that help fight age-related decline. I love eating culinary mushrooms but sometimes it can be hard to work them into my everyday diet, and specific mushrooms have additional more targeted benefits. That’s why I love Four Sigmatic products. They have a wide variety of beverages that incorporate these amazing superfood mushrooms and that taste amazing. On a typical day, I’ll drink a cup of their mushroom infused coffee or matcha with ingredients like Lion’s mane for focus or cordyceps for overall health. I also love winding down with a cup of their Reishi elixir, which helps me fall asleep easily and get more restorative deep sleep. I especially love their packets on the go because they are so easy to throw in my purse or my bag when I travel, and I’ll often just order a cup of hot water on the go and make some Lion’s Mane coffee on a plane. I also love mixing a packet of their coffee or matcha into a protein drink on the go for a protein-packed iced latte option. Speaking of protein, they have the only plant-based protein I like, with 7 functional mushrooms and adaptogens and the flavor is great. Check out all of their products at foursigmatic.com/wellnessmama and use the code wellnessmama for a discount!

This episode is brought to you by Sleep.me, formerly ChiliSleep. You’ve heard me talk about them before and with good reason. Science tells us that the best way to achieve and maintain consistent, deep sleep is by lowering core body temperature. Temperature-controlled sleep repairs muscle after a hard day’s work and improves cognitive function so you always start your day feeling sharp and alert. In fact, cooling my sleep environment has been the single most impactful change I’ve made for my sleep and I desperately miss my cooler sleep environment so much when I travel. ChiliSleep makes the coldest and most comfortable sleep systems available. They create the environment that meets the body’s natural need for lower core temperatures, promoting deeper, restorative sleep. ChiliSleep makes the OOLER, the Cube and Dock Pro Sleep Systems, which are all water-based, temperature-controlled mattress toppers that fit over your existing mattress to provide your ideal sleep temperature. These mattress pads keep your bed at the perfect temperature for deep, cold sleep. These sleep systems are designed to help you fall asleep, stay asleep and give you the confidence and energy to power through your day.
They also just launched the NEW Dock Pro Sleep System, which has two times more cold power than other models, is whisper-quiet and has a tubeless mattress pad design that allows for five times more cooling contact. Pair it with the new Sleep.me app for enhanced device control and sleep scheduling. I love all of these because they cool your bed and not your room. Head over to Sleep.me/wellnessmama to learn more and save 25% off the purchase of any new Cube, OOLER or NEW DOCK PRO Sleep Systems. This offer is available exclusively for Wellness Mama listeners — and only for a limited time!

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About Katie Wells

Katie Wells, CTNC, MCHC, Founder of Wellness Mama and Co-founder of Wellnesse, has a background in research, journalism, and nutrition. As a mom of six, she turned to research and took health into her own hands to find answers to her health problems. WellnessMama.com is the culmination of her thousands of hours of research and all posts are medically reviewed and verified by the Wellness Mama research team. Katie is also the author of the bestselling books The Wellness Mama Cookbook and The Wellness Mama 5-Step Lifestyle Detox.

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