Marie Forleo introduction


I'm Marie

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Marie Forleo: (singing) Hey, it’s Marie Forleo, and you are watching MarieTV, the place to be to create a business and life you love. I got a question for you. Do you ever feel like you’re meant to do more in this world? Do you have this deeper sense that you should be doing something that has meaning, that you’re meant for big things, but you just don’t know how to unlock it? If so, you are going to absolutely love our show today because you’re going to meet one of my most inspiring and intelligent friends, someone who I’m honored to know, and someone who I work with.

Marie Forleo: Adam Braun is the founder of Pencils of Promise, an award-winning organization that has built more than 200 schools across Africa, Asia, and Latin America. PoP was founded with just $25 using Braun’s unique for-purpose approach to blending nonprofit idealism with for-profit business principles.

Marie Forleo: Braun graduated magna cum laude from Brown University and was one of the first 10 World Economic Forum Global Shapers and has been featured at the United Nations, the Clinton Global Initiative, WIRED Magazine’s Smart List of 50 People Changing the World, and Forbes 2012: 30 Under 30. He’s the author of The Promise of a Pencil: How an Ordinary Person Can Create Extraordinary Change. Adam?

Adam Braun: Yeah.

Marie Forleo: It is so awesome to have you here. Thank you for making the time to come on MarieTV.

Adam Braun: Oh, my pleasure. My pleasure.

Marie Forleo: So, you’re one of the people that I admire. You have done so much in such a short amount of time, and one of the things that I love about your book, which I’ve read twice already, is that it’s practical.

Adam Braun: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Marie Forleo: It’s inspirational, and there’s so much spirituality in it, which I just find I feel like we’re kindred spirits in that sense.

Adam Braun: Yeah.

Marie Forleo: One of the things that you talk about and for all of us, we are the culmination of the people that come before.

Adam Braun: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Marie Forleo: And family is so important to you, and I loved all the stories about your grandma, Ma.

Adam Braun: Yeah.

Marie Forleo: Can you tell us how she has influenced you to become the man you are today and how that’s impacted the work you do?

Adam Braun: Yeah. She’s been a huge, huge personal influence. I mean, some of my earliest memories are her making chicken noodle soup, rubbing my back when I couldn’t sleep, forcing KIT KATs down my mouth at the earliest of age. Literally, when I go to visit her now, she still feeds me like I’m a four-year-old and just stuffs food in front of my face.

Adam Braun: But at the same time, I mean she went through so much sacrifice so that I could be in the positions that I was able to experience throughout my life, and one of the things that I always kind of grew up knowing was where I had come from. And so, Ma, my grandmother, was 14 when she was taken out of her hometown, a small town in Hungary, and was first put into a ghetto. Then from a ghetto, was packed into a cattle car, and from there, was shipped to Auschwitz with her 12-year-old sister, her mother, and 26 other family members. And all of them were gassed the first night, and she was the lone survivor.

Adam Braun: And so, she’s survived through this incredible series of miracles, and knowing what she had been through, more than anything, it kind of forced me to take just a sense of greater weight of my life. It’s like this person put her own challenges in the back burner so that her family could be better positioned in the future. And so, throughout my childhood and then adolescence, and even until now, I feel this great sense of not only gratitude but a commitment to honor her and the sacrifices of all of my grandparents and great grandparents and ancestors before that.

Marie Forleo: It made me think about my own grandparents and my grandma, who’s still alive, the last one. And it just, it brought tears to my eyes, and it actually compelled me to call my grandmother and to think also, we’ve built some schools with you at Pencils of Promise, and I plan on building a lot more.

Adam Braun: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Marie Forleo: And I was actually like, “Wow. Yeah, the dedications. Why not dedicate it to our parents?”

Adam Braun: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Marie Forleo: And I just want to thank you for that message because I feel like it’s something that I’ve taken for granted in my own life, and it was really awesome. And that brings me actually thinking about life and death and how important our life is.

Adam Braun: Yeah.

Marie Forleo: You did this incredible adventure, Semester at Sea.

Adam Braun: Right.

Marie Forleo: And I’m reading your book, and I knew we were doing this interview.

Adam Braun: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Marie Forleo: And I was so excited, and it was late, late, late. And I was on our company retreat, and I’m sitting there. And the lights are off, and this was like this huge adventure.

Adam Braun: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Marie Forleo: You’re on this boat, and then all hell frigging breaks loose.

Adam Braun: Right.

Marie Forleo: Tell us what happened.

Adam Braun: So, I grew up and kind of saw my path ahead of me, and I think a lot of people, you have this profound sense that life is what it’s supposed to be in this dictated traditional path that usually your parents or that your influences or your teachers. When you’re a kid, it’s like people are always kind of saying, “Here’s what I see you doing one day.” And, I was a basketball player at Brown and kind of had this life figured out. And I saw this film that was shot all around the world called Baraka, and it just forced me to realize how different people lived outside of the little bubble of experience that I had experienced.

Adam Braun: And so, went on Semester at Sea knowing that it was this round-the-world, global voyage, and I was going to get access to 10 different countries. You have four to six days to get out and independently backpack with no restrictions essentially. They literally drop you off on Monday, and they say, “Be back on the ship next Monday morning or else we’re leaving,” and that’s how it works. And so, I thought, “Ah. I’m getting ready to break out of my comfort zone.”

Adam Braun: And our ship left from Vancouver headed to Korea, and this is January 2005. It’s the first time that Semester at Sea had crossed the North Pacific in winter. They had always gone the other direction, and this time they kind of went west, which would become east, and just kind of this freak accident. I mean, it’s never happened before. It’s never happened since, but we got caught in-between three massive storm fronts about 800 miles from land. And we tried to go down, and another one developed. And so, we essentially got caught in the perfect storm for lack of a better term.

Adam Braun: And the morning of January 27th, 2005, we got hit by a 60-foot rouge wave head on. It went over the top of this thousand-person cruise ship, shattered the glass on the sixth-floor bridge. And getting hit by a wave obviously is terrible, but the fact that it shattered the glass, flooded the area with all the navigational equipment, and we lost all power to our engines is what obviously caused it to go really, really downhill. And so, we were essentially a sitting duck. This Mayday call happens, and I had a certain death experience. I knew that the ship was going down. I was sure I was going to die in the next hour, maybe two, and that it would be a painful death in cold waters as far as possible from everyone that I knew and loved.

Adam Braun: And I think when you have a certain death experience, or at least when you kind of face the end of your life, the thing that happens is you suddenly look back on everything that happened before that, and you don’t ask, “Who?” or, “What?” You just ask, “Why?” and you think about kind of, “Why am I about to perish, and why was I here?” And the biggest question was, “What is my purpose?” Like, “Why? If I’m about to die, why was I put here?” And the things that I looked back on with real value were kind of always centered around family or some type of service to others. It wasn’t when I was kind of accumulating anything related to myself. It was always like I was here to maybe help somebody else.

Adam Braun: And so, fortunately we survived. And when we survived, and I was able to almost get like this second chance, I was, one, incredibly committed to finding out what that true purpose was. And then, the second thing was I was just super inspired to live in service of others and try and kind of not take any day for granted. And I know it sounds a little cliché, but when you’re sure that today is your last day and then you get tomorrow, you live each day with incredible richness and fullness.

Marie Forleo: Do you feel, as you look at life before that incident and after it happened, do you sense a marked difference? Because I know from reading the book, it’s like you’ve always been someone who has that sense of soul.

Adam Braun: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Marie Forleo: You had a huge heart.

Adam Braun: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Marie Forleo: You always want to do the right thing.

Adam Braun: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Marie Forleo: But it sounds like after that, it was like, “Bam.”

Adam Braun: Yeah.

Marie Forleo: Like, “Yes.”

Adam Braun: Yeah. I mean I was a completely different person after that.

Marie Forleo: Really?

Adam Braun: Yeah. Completely changed my life. I didn’t go into Semester at Sea expecting to have that big of a personal change, but I’ve always said, “It’s kind of the best and most important experience that I’ve ever experienced or personally dove into.”

Adam Braun: And I think part of it is just the first exposure to a world outside of my own that was so foreign, going into the developing world, being in India, being in Vietnam and Brazil and townships in South Africa, all crunched within a three-month period. It just opens your horizons to such a wide place and going through that right after certain death.

Marie Forleo: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Adam Braun: The wave hit before we even got to a single country.

Marie Forleo: Wow.

Adam Braun: It just changed my perspective so that when I came home, that’s actually when I had the biggest culture shock. It wasn’t going into these foreign places. It was actually coming home with new eyes.

Marie Forleo: You mentioned India, which I know something very powerful happened there.

Adam Braun: Right.

Marie Forleo: Which would go on to kind of culminate in what’s become Pencils of Promise.

Adam Braun: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Marie Forleo: And it’s one of the things that I love about the book and why I think our audience is going to love it so much, you guys are going to freak out when you read this, is that it’s divided by 30 mantras, 30 chapters.

Adam Braun: Yeah.

Marie Forleo: And there are these wonderful guideposts and ideas that can really help all of us not only find the true purpose of our life but live that through.

Adam Braun: Yeah.

Marie Forleo: And so, I love this mantra. It was, “Every pencil holds a promise.”

Adam Braun: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Marie Forleo: Can you tell us this story?

Adam Braun: Sure. So, I had a habit that I had decided even before going on the ship, which was I was going to ask one kid per country, “What do you want most in the world?” I would have them write it down on a piece of paper, and then I would create this collage when I got home. And I thought I would just have this really cool set of global interests. And I expected to hear the things that I wanted. And so, I thought a kid in one country would say a house, and in another country, they’d say a car. And in another country, they’d say the latest gadget or a piece of technology.

Adam Braun: And so, in the first place that we got to, which was Hawaii, after we got shipwrecked, I met this beautiful young girl. I said, “What do you want if you’re going to have anything in the world?” And she said, “To dance.” And I thought, “Well, that’s really different. Maybe I’m going to get some kind of surprising answers.” And then in China, a young girl said, “A book,” and then in Hong Kong, a kid said, “Magic,” which was my favorite. And then when I got to India, I just saw poverty that was unlike anything I’d ever witnessed. And in particular, it’s children. Four-year-olds begging on the streets with six-months-olds in their arms, and you feel helpless. And I think that that’s something that a lot of people often feel, which is there’s a big issue or even a small issue, but they don’t feel like they’re in a position to actually make a difference.

Marie Forleo: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Adam Braun: And so, that’s how I felt. And I happened to find this boy begging on the streets, and he was my one kid in the whole country. And I said, “What do you want if you could have anything in the world?” And he just had nothing. I’d never even considered that my life or another child’s life would exist in such poverty at such a young age. And he looked at me, and his answer, if he could have anything in the world, was, “A pencil.” And I just was blown away, and I gave him my pencil. And when I did, he just lit up.

Adam Braun: And I could see that this idea that you can’t actually change somebody’s life, that you’re too young, you don’t have enough money, or you’re not in a position of power and influence is actually ridiculous. It’s a broken idea, and it doesn’t exist. You can provide one small act to one individual person that can really change the trajectory of their life. And when I gave this kid my pencil, I mean I could see this curiosity, this spark of creativity, this sense of opportunity that he had never grasped before filling up within him. And so, after that, I passed out pens and pencils as I backpacked through 40, 50 countries, which led to then the organization being called Pencils of Promise.

Marie Forleo: That’s awesome, and I’m tearing up because every time … I’ve heard you tell the story before, but every time I hear you say it-

Adam Braun: You’re going to make me tear up-

Marie Forleo: I know.

Adam Braun: … if you tear up, because so-

Marie Forleo: Because it’s so … It’s just, it’s so incredibly sweet. It’s something that we take for granted. I mean, I believe so much in the power of education. It’s why we do what we do here. It’s why we do B-School. And, yeah, I just … In love with this book, in love with this message, so I’m going to take it further so I don’t become a total mess. So, fast forward to the night at the Philharmonic.

Adam Braun: Yeah.

Marie Forleo: So, you’re there, and one of the mantras is about embracing lightning moments.

Adam Braun: Yeah. So, after Semester at Sea, I’d backpacked essentially for a year, after kind of finished up my senior year, and then it’s just realized that I was only … I was just so alive when I was traveling that I wanted more of it. And so, spent all this time traveling, and then I moved into New York. And I got this great job at Bain as a consultant and kind of was inside of this ivory tower that I had dreamed of being a part of for years and was learning a ton while I was there and had this incredible training. But I felt so disconnected to the part of myself that felt truest, which again, is something that I see a lot of people experiencing. You have to take a job, or you have to move cities. And suddenly, you’re kind of outside of who and what you are.

Marie Forleo: Yes.

Adam Braun: And you almost, for me, I think I wrote this in the book, but I felt like I was wearing somebody else’s uniform all day. And I would come home, and the first thing I would do is change into what felt like me clothes.

Marie Forleo: Yeah.

Adam Braun: And so, I got invited to the New York Philharmonic. I had never been to the symphony before. And one of my kind of classmates at Bain got tickets for a group of us, and we all went. And I went to this thing just with a lot of ideas kind of percolating. And it’s in the book kind of some of the things that happened that morning and that afternoon, but there was this confluence of ideas that was just stewing in my head. And I watched as this great group of people performed this incredible symphony. But then afterwards, they all left the stage, and I was like, “Wait. What’s happening?”

Adam Braun: And one man came out, and again, this idea, I think it’s kind of a common thread throughout the book is that one individual who finds a sense of purpose can create radical transformation not just for themselves and their family but globally. This one man just kind of came out on stage and started playing this incredible piece on a piano. He’s playing really hard, and his hair is … He has like three strands of hair, and they’re flying from one side of his head to the other. But this enormous sound was coming out of him and through this piano, and I just remember sitting there thinking, “That’s what I want. I want to be as passionate about something, just as passionate as he is about something in my life. And even if it’s something small, it just must be so fulfilling for him to play this piano right now.” And literally, like a bolt of lightning, this name popped in my head, Pencils of Promise.

Adam Braun: And I loved it because, obviously, the pencil story you now know. But promise is such a powerful word, and it has two completely different meanings. And the first is an oath or a commitment. “I promise to do something for you,” and I think when you make a promise to somebody, the actual fulfillment of that provides self-fulfillment as well. And then the second one is this sense of potential like that person has promise. And so, I really believe within a pencil, within a child holding something like that in their hand, you have both the commitment from somebody, and you have the untapped realized unrealized potential.

Adam Braun: So, this name was like perfect, and I was so psyched and just it felt like lightning hit me. I could feel electricity in my bones. My hands could feel this heat. It was going through my veins, and it was one of those kind of what I call it moments.

Marie Forleo: Yes.

Adam Braun: Where it happens, and once it happens, it’ll never be the same after if you really kind of embrace and move forward with that idea. And so, I went home that night and literally wrote out the full charter. I still have the document on my computer, all these stupid fundraising ideas. It’s like, “Oh. We’re going to have a sake bombing party and have friends come, and the difference will end up helping to fund a school.” And from that, literally a few weeks later, I put $25 in a bank account just taking a small step to try and build one school and dedicate it in honor of my grandmother, and everything kind of grew from there.

Marie Forleo: One of the things that I love about that story in that chapter in particular is following the journey. I think for so many of us, we have these moments that change us, and a lot of people write into MarieTV, and they may feel stuck like the convergence hasn’t happened yet.

Adam Braun: Yeah.

Marie Forleo: And what I love about your story is it was such a demonstration of just have faith and keep moving forward because that convergence will happen.

Adam Braun: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Marie Forleo: It wasn’t like you got that incredible insight when the boy in India said, “I’d love a pencil,” and then turned around that very next day. It was like you kept moving towards and following your heart, and then it all started to come together.

Marie Forleo: And the second thing I wanted to say, and it was such a beautiful moment as a reader, when Josh and I met, my fiancé.

Adam Braun: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Marie Forleo: I know you have a similar kind of experience, but when Josh and I met, I remember he physically bumped into me.

Adam Braun: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Marie Forleo: And that was the only time in my life this has ever happened where I felt my entire body surged with electricity, and it was so other world.

Adam Braun: Right.

Marie Forleo: And it’s never happened since.

Adam Braun: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Marie Forleo: And it was one of those it moments.

Adam Braun: Yeah.

Marie Forleo: And thank you for articulating that because I think a lot of us have had that and have never heard someone speak about it.

Adam Braun: It’s hard. I mean the only words … So, I think those it moments, they happen a few times in your life.

Marie Forleo: Yeah.

Adam Braun: And then, in the, for the mantra, I couldn’t describe it as anything other than a lightning moment because it was literally like a bolt of … It was just electric.

Marie Forleo: Yeah.

Adam Braun: And I don’t know that I’ve ever had something happen since then. But when it happens, if you’re fortunate enough to have that, you have to move forward towards that idea.

Marie Forleo: So, the next part of the story is about you were still at Bain, and you were still working full time.

Adam Braun: Right.

Marie Forleo: And I know a lot of folks feel because they have a job, because maybe they have several jobs, it’s like, “Oh, I can’t go out there and make a difference.”

Adam Braun: Yeah.

Marie Forleo: “I’m stuck in this thing.” And I know one of the other mantras is about following the signs.

Adam Braun: Yeah.

Marie Forleo: Yeah. Tell us what happened.

Adam Braun: So, I was still full time at Bain, and I was working on this organization. We had gotten one school built. We had broken ground on a few more, but I essentially had to make a choice. And so, the staffing manager at Bain called me in and very honestly said to me, “Look. You haven’t been a very good employee. You’ve been calling in sick left and right, and you’ve never called in sick before Pencils of Promise. So, we’re still paying you. You have to be loyal to this company or else. It’s your decision, but you’re choosing to walk away.” And so, he kind of gave me an ultimatum and a specific case that I had to take on.

Adam Braun: So, I said, “Can I have a few days to think about it?” And this was a Thursday, and so he said essentially, “Take the weekend.” And so, I went home that day, and I had just moved into a new apartment in the East Village here in the city. And on Thursday nights, you put out your garbage right in front of the apartment. And there’s a street artist named De La Vega who’s really well known. He sells pieces at Christie’s and Sotheby’s, but he’ll also do ephemeral art. So, he’ll tag a chalk on the street or pieces of graffiti that are going to get taken away the next morning.

Adam Braun: And so literally, I walked home, and the garbage, a cardboard box right in front of my apartment, had been tagged with De La Vega’s most well-known phrase, and it said, “Become your dream,” right in front of my doorsteps. And it was just so overwhelming. And again, I think a lot of people, they see these signs, but they don’t choose to acknowledge them, or you kind of have to have open eyes to find some of them sometimes.

Marie Forleo: Yeah.

Adam Braun: But I prefer to live in a world in which I feel like I’m getting guidance. I enjoy that. I like that, and I genuinely believe it. I feel like there’s more than just me and what I see physically. I feel like there’s something else that’s helping guide me to achieve a higher purpose, and that’s why I survived that day from the wave.

Adam Braun: And so, I saw that sign, “Become your dream,” and it was like, “That’s the sign that I needed.” And so, I decided that night that I was going to leave Bain and start working out of my apartment and build Pencils of Promise into something that was more than just one or two schools, but something that would build hundreds of schools.

Marie Forleo: Yeah. And so, that was your leap of faith.

Adam Braun: Yeah.

Marie Forleo: I mean, you did that full time. You know what I loved? When I was at your office, I don’t know when, and you showed me that piece of cardboard.

Adam Braun: Yeah.

Marie Forleo: It was frigging awesome. How amazing?

Adam Braun: Yeah.

Marie Forleo: I love that you just took it. You’re like-

Adam Braun: I cut it out. Yeah.

Marie Forleo: Yeah.

Adam Braun: So, a friend of mine came over that night, and we were talking, and I was telling her this story. I’m like, “You wouldn’t believe it. Did you see the become your dream downstairs?” She was like, “That’s De La Vega. You got to keep that.” And it started to snow, and I realized it might even be ruined if I didn’t run out there. So, I literally took my scissors. I went downstairs in like shorts and a T-shirt or something like that, and it’s freezing out. And so, I cut it out, and I’d decided, “I’m going to frame it, and one day when we have a Pencils of Promise office, I’m going to put it in the entrance so that I and everybody else is always reminded of where this began.”

Marie Forleo: So, cool. Okay. Now, Pencils of Promise, it’s an actual thing.

Adam Braun: Yeah.

Marie Forleo: So, you’re going out. You’re starting to talk to people about it. You’re going to go to media parties.

Adam Braun: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Marie Forleo: And the last mantra we’ll talk about today is, and this is one of my favorites, “Change your words, change your worth.”

Adam Braun: Mm-hmm (affirmative). So, that one was really a function of actual conversations with people. So, I started to find that I was in a lot of rooms, and I never felt like a nonprofit person. I don’t think many people wake up and say, “I want to not profit today.” People wake up, and they say either, “I want to create a lot of profit,” or I think a lot of other people also say, “Well, I want to create a lot of social good.

Marie Forleo: Yeah.

Adam Braun: Or, “I want to improve a lot of people’s lives,” and those are the distinctions between two industries that are now called nonprofit and for-profit in my opinion. And so, I spent a lot of my time around other entrepreneurs.

Marie Forleo: Yeah.

Adam Braun: A lot of which are kind of in the New York tech scene or people like you who are just doing incredible things, inspiring a lot of people to achieve their dreams.

Marie Forleo: Yeah.

Adam Braun: And so, I found myself at this kind of really snazzy media party, one of those typical Manhattan rooftops, and you kind of feel fortunate to be there. Got into this great conversation with this fund manager about investments, and because I knew the startup scene, we’re kind of getting into this really great in-depth conversation. And we’re about 15, 20 minutes in or something, and then he says, “So, tell me what you do.” And I said, “Well, I run a nonprofit organization called Pencils of Promise that I started a few years ago,” and he immediately just kind of shut off and started looking around and asked me a couple, “Oh, you do that full time? What’s the name of your project?” And I realized-

Marie Forleo: Ooh, that’s a tough one.

Adam Braun: Oh, yeah.

Marie Forleo: Oh.

Adam Braun: I was both kind of dejected and a little bit mad and not so much at him but more at myself.

Marie Forleo: Sure.

Adam Braun: And I started to realize this was a recurring experience. And so, at that point in time, I thought about, “Well, I’m defining myself and my industry through the language that I’m using, and this language actually does a disservice to our work,” because it’s the only industry that uses the word non to introduce itself. You would never say that if you worked at a car company that you work in the non-aviation industry ever. You say, “I work in the automobile industry.

Marie Forleo: Right.

Adam Braun: And so, why don’t we define ourselves by what we do and not what by what we’re not doing? And so, I decided to say instead of we’re a nonprofit, “We’re a for-purpose organization.” And I started sharing that on various stages at various talks, and it started to get really rapidly written about it and then adopted. And so now all the time, I talk to people who don’t even know me, and they’re like, “Oh, yeah. I’m running this for-purpose company.”

Marie Forleo: You’re like, “Yes.”

Adam Braun: Yeah. And I think that it’s almost a different axis. You have nonprofit, for-profit. What about for-purpose and non-purpose? Because I believe you can have a for-profit, for-purpose company, but-

Marie Forleo: Amen.

Adam Braun: Yeah, yeah. You really ideally do both.

Marie Forleo: Yes.

Adam Braun: But shouldn’t we celebrate what we are instead of what we’re not? And then kind of developed this whole ideology around if you were for-purpose instead of just nonprofit, why don’t you build things that scale, things that impact hundreds of thousands if not millions of lives? And, we as an organization, we’re a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit by status.

Marie Forleo: Yep.

Adam Braun: But it’s a status not necessarily a business model. And so, we built a real business model that could build something of scale.

Marie Forleo: I just want to congratulate you because we met at a Summit Series event.

Adam Braun: Yeah.

Marie Forleo: I remember we were in like this banging club, and we’re like screaming at each other trying to understand what each other did. And you gave me your card, and I remember hung onto it. And I knew, because my business wasn’t at the level that it’s at now, but I had made a promise to myself in my heart. I’m like, “I am going to work with that guy.” Like, “We’re going to stay friends and when-“

Adam Braun: We had five schools at the time.

Marie Forleo: Yeah.

Adam Braun: Just so you know.

Marie Forleo: Oh, my God.

Adam Braun: This is three-and-a-half years ago, maybe four years ago, yeah?

Marie Forleo: Yeah. And then, we have mutual friends, but I was so happy when our organization got to the point where I could contribute and build schools.

Adam Braun: Yeah.

Marie Forleo: And I was like, “That. There’s no one I would rather do this with than you.”

Adam Braun: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Marie Forleo: And I am so deeply honored to call you my friend, and I’m so excited to continue to watch you and the organization soar and to do everything that I can to support you.

Adam Braun: Thank you.

Marie Forleo: Because I just so believe in who you are as a human being, and I so honor you. And I think that you’re a leader in this world, and so many of us would be really fortunate to follow.

Adam Braun: Oh. Well, the feeling is more than mutual, so that really and truly means a lot.

Marie Forleo: Is there anything that you want to leave us with today? I know we talked about so much. I could talk to you forever.

Adam Braun: Yeah, yeah.

Marie Forleo: Is there anything that you want to tell our viewers?

Adam Braun: Yeah. I mean, I would say my story is an ordinary person’s story. I mean that’s why the book. It’s called The Promise of a Pencil, but the subtitle is to what’s really powerful to me, which is How an Ordinary Person Can Create Extraordinary Change. And I didn’t start from a place with millions of dollars of backing, and no one really knew who I was. I started with $25, and if I was going to share anything with a viewer that’s watched this, it’s that you have your own extraordinary journey to live out, but first you have to find your purpose. And you find that by getting outside of your comfort zone. And then, once you read those signs that you will be inevitably surrounded by, you’ll find the thing that makes you most come alive and take that small step and then follow the signs along the path.

Marie Forleo: Adam, thank you so much for being here. I adore you. If you haven’t already gotten the book, you need to get your hands on this book. It is absolutely incredible. It will change your life. If you have kids, you have friends, you have siblings, you have moms and dads and aunts and uncles, anyone who cares about making a difference, get them this book. They will absolutely thank you for it. Thanks so much, Adam.

Adam Braun: Thank you.

Marie Forleo: Now, Adam and I have a challenge for you. What is your impossible dream? I want you to really think about what you want to make a difference in the world, how you want to do that. Then, I want you to go take action right now. That’s right. Go take a single step and then come back and tell us about it in the comments below. We’re going to take a look at everything, and then I’m going to choose 10 people to send you a free copy of Adam’s incredible book. Now, do not wait for to see if you’re the person who gets a free book. I want you to go get this now because obviously, if we choose you as a winner, you can just give your copy to someone else.

Marie Forleo: Did you like this video? If so, subscribe and share it with your friends, and if you want even more great resources to create a business and life that you love, plus some personal insights from me that I only talk about in email, get those sweet buns over to and sign up for email updates.

Marie Forleo: Stay on your game and keep going for your dreams because the world needs that special gift that only you have. Thank you so much for watching, and I’ll see you next time on MarieTV.

Marie Forleo: I will be happy in a couple of minutes and not want to kill anybody. A competition show about assless chaps. What would they do? I don’t even want to know.

Speaker 3: You would win.

Speaker 4: I would win.

Adam Braun: I know.

Speaker 5: Behind your head.

Marie Forleo: You have no flyaway hair.

Adam Braun: Okay. Yeah.

Marie Forleo: I happen to have a ton of flyaway hair always. So that-

Adam Braun: Do you always cry in interviews, or am I special?

Marie Forleo: No.

Speaker 5: No.

Speaker 4: That’s actually the first time.

Adam Braun: Oh, all right. I feel so good.

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