New Thought Leader: Marie Forleo

In an industry saturated with voices, personal development powerhouse Marie Forleo, 44, has managed to shine. Not only did her September 2019 book, Everything is Figureoutable, hit No. 1 on the New York Times best-seller list, but she’s been able to help over 55,000 people through B-School, her online course for people who want to build a meaningful, profitable business.

On top of that, Forleo has a vast social media following, as well as a YouTube channel, MarieTV, with 50 million views and counting.

Her secret?

“I show up consistently and without fail,” says Forleo, who was our November/December 2019 cover subject.

Forleo’s ultimate goal boils down to one simple concept: She wants to help people live extraordinary lives. “More and more of us are waking up to the truth that regardless of who we are or where we come from, we each have an innate power to improve the quality of our lives and make a difference in the world around us,” she says.

Camaraderie, Not Competition

As social media makes the barrier to entry lower for those in personal development, more and more people are putting their names in the ring. Forleo doesn’t see new players as competition, but rather as allies.

“It’s a good thing,” she says. “People have the opportunity to unleash their creativity and connect with others. More people means a higher variety of approaches, perspectives and styles of teachers to choose from.”

When asked which personal development voice she respects most, Forleo says it’s Byron Katie, the speaker and author best known for The Work. Forleo also thinks highly of couples’ counselors Harville Hendrix and Helen LaKelly Hunt and their work with Imago Dialogue, a strategy for helping people better communicate.

“I’m friends with some of the top folks in the industry and I wouldn’t have it any other way,” Forleo says. “There’s more than enough to go around. With over 7 billion people on the planet, there are more than enough humans with a diverse set of needs, desires and tastes.”

Human Connection

Asking Forleo what she’s most excited or passionate about is like asking Bob Dylan his favorite song lyric. Forleo is well-known for her boundless energy and enthusiasm, which permeates countless industries, from self-help to dance.

In addition to working with B-Schoolers and interviewing people on MarieTV, Forleo says she’s most driven by meeting people in real life and hearing their stories. Her company, Marie Forleo International, used to host an annual conference in New York City, but she and her team decided to stop the event in 2013 because they put their focus toward their online product offerings. She often misses the real-life connections she forged with people through this event.

Forleo recently went on a worldwide book tour to promote Everything is Figureoutable. Speaking to SUCCESS before she left, her joy was palpable.

“I made a very intentional choice back in 2013 to remove that as part of our business because I knew I could impact so many more people through a program like B-School,” she says. “What I’m so excited about is getting back on the road, going on tour and meeting people in real life again.”

Forging Ahead

When asked what the future holds for personal development, Forleo says she believes people will crave more strategies that are research-driven and backed by science. She’s also excited about the opportunities technology presents, such as the use of virtual reality and augmented reality.

“The changes in technology present both fresh opportunities to impact people’s lives and an ever-growing demand to be discerning with how you spend your time and energy,” she says.

Although Forleo has big plans for the coming decade, her core beliefs will always remain the same—after all, they haven’t changed in the past two decades.

“From the beginning, I’ve always said, ‘I’m no sage from the stage, I’m more like a guide on the side,’ ” she says. “Like when I got started, this line of work is about doing whatever I can to help people create lasting results.”


Did You Know?

7 Little-Known Facts About Marie Forleo

  1. She loves zombie movies and TV shows.
  2. She gifts The War of Art by Steven Pressfield more than any other book.
  3. The greatest piece of advice she’s ever received? “That my heart is the strongest part of me.”
  4. She once toured the world as a Nike Elite Dance Athlete and choreographed music videos for MTV.
  5. Before becoming a business coach, her many odd jobs included cleaning toilets, bartending and teaching fitness classes.
  6. Oprah Winfrey called Forleo a thought leader for the next generation.
  7. Forleo thinks the best way to describe herself is as a “multi-passionate entrepreneur” since she has so many different interests.

Meet the other New Thought Leaders:

Tim Ferriss
Rachel Hollis

This article originally appeared in the March/April 2020 issue of SUCCESS magazine.
Illustration by Hanane Kai

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Scott Bedgood is a freelance writer and the author of Lessons from Legends: 12 Hall of Fame Coaches on Leadership, Life, and Leaving a Legacy. He lives in Dallas, Texas, with his wife Sami.

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Jonny Auping is a freelance writer based in Dallas.

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Cecilia Meis is the integrated content editor for SUCCESS magazine and SUCCESS.com. She recently earned a bachelor's degree from the Missouri School of Journalism. A Kansas City native, Cecilia enjoys sand volleyball, new stationery and a heaping plate of burnt ends.

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