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Marie: Wat I’m most interested in, is you not looking at everything that you’ve accomplished as a failure, but just as a starting point, and a launching point for what’s next. And can you extract lessons that are valuable, that will help you grow into this next chapter.
Alicia: This is Alicia.
Marie Forleo: Hi, it’s Marie Forleo. And you are on the MarieTV Call-In Show. How are you doing?
Alicia: Hi, Marie. I’m great. How are you?
Marie Forleo: I’m doing good. You’re here with myself and Gregory and Team Forleo. And we’re so excited to talk with you today.
Alicia: Thank you. I’m super excited to have the chance to talk with you too.
Marie Forleo: Yay. So tell us what’s happening and we will do our best to help you out.
Alicia: Oh, my goodness. Okay. So, I have been running my own business for the better part of the last three years. I guess two and a half years. One of the first things that I did was sign up for B-School, which was a really great experience, and helped me build my website for my company. I also, in my accountability partner, found someone who encouraged me to write a book about my business method, which is called Purpose Power, How Mission-Driven Leaders Engage for Change. And I just felt like, in thinking about your approach and your coaching and paying attention to all of your encouragement, I’ve tried to let myself be open to opportunities that show up, you know, stay on the radar, be surprised by things, not hold ideas too tightly, let them emerge and develop and say yes as much as I can. Um.
And a lot of the work that I have done here two years later,I, I, I struggle with feeling like I sort of failed. A lot of the things that I wanted haven’t come true in the way that I hoped that they would. And both trying to, you know, internalize some of those responsibility and actions that I could have done differently. But also just feeling like the world is sometimes not a super forgiving and supportive place, which isn’t to say that I don’t have friends and mentors and great people in my life, but just sometimes it feels like swimming upstream.
And now I find myself in a place where my husband has been offered his dream job in Europe, which is super exciting for him living in Europe is something that I have dreamed about for a long time. So there are a lot of things about that, that are, you know, a dream coming true for me. But I’m also now in this position of sort of meeting to abandon ship and sort of close up all of the things that I thought I was building. You know. I felt like I was sort of building this garden and, you know. watering plants and trying to make things happen.
And now all those things that I thought I was trying to make happen, I need to sort of turn over a new page and, and do, trying to figure out something new. So, I’m both sort of left with this feeling like all of this effort that I put out, all the things that I, that I worked really hard to create and do. None of them really generated the success that I was hoping for. And now I have to leave them and, and go start from scratch.
Marie Forleo: This is awesome. By the way, thank you so much for sharing so honestly and bravely with us. I have a question for you.
Marie Forleo You said, “None of them turned out to create the success I had hoped for.” What’s your measuring stick? What was the success that you hoped for? I’m just curious.
Alicia: Um well, my measure, I think was a couple of things. In running a business, I was really hoping to get to six figures by my second year, not half a million dollars, but to surpass $100,000 in, in being able to pay myself, and that never really happened. I was able to sell business and negotiate contracts. But none of those things were, um you know, long term, none of them paid as much as I hope that they would. I wind up hiring people to work on those projects with me. And so, in the process never really reached that profitability margin that I was hoping for.
In publishing, in publishing a book, I had sort of sold myself on this idea that , you know, publishing a book is one of the best things that you can do for your credibility and your authority. And I found that the process of working with an independent publisher to be really really hard and that there’s not a whole lot promotional support that’s available. So, I really have to do a lot of that myself. And I don’t have the sort of established platform that, you know, a lot of publishers look for in an author. And so it really feels like, a lot of the time I’m sort of spinning my wheels. And maybe I wrote…
I wrote a book. That’s a, it’s a good book, but it’s not the right book at the right time, somehow or… and so not being able to gain traction in an environment where there’s a lot of noise, or there’s a lot of resource scarcity. Nonprofits don’t really have… are really cash strapped. And so targeting nonprofits as a client base has been, felt really frustrating because it’s hard to get those organizations to prioritize hiring outside help as much as they, you know, seriously benefit from it.
Marie Forleo: That’s really clear. I’m going to.
Alicia: That’s what I would say.
Marie Forleo: I’m going to jump in right there. Thank you, by the way, for being so precise. So couple things, one thing that I highlighted, which is common for all of us to experience these type of inner conflicts, but one that really jumped out to me was the primary and first thing that you mentioned was around financial success. And then you shared that you’re focusing on nonprofits. And so we just know this, right? It’s kind of a fact that if you are going into that particular sector, it is going to be more challenging to earn the type of money that I think you’ll want it to earn. So sometimes having those kind of inner conflicts between those two goals, for example, I don’t think that if you, and I’m not saying that you do, but if you wanted to earn like a gajillion dollars, you wouldn’t be like, “You know what I’m going to do? I’m going to start a nonprofit.”
There’s just an intrinsic conflict point between those two ideas, that it’s clear based on what you’re telling us that you found to be frustrating. So, I think one of the most powerful things that you’ll be able to do in this next chapter of your life is actually start to decide the metrics that actually matter to you. What is the most important thing for you to do or to experience? Or who do you need to be in order to feel successful? And if operating in the nexus of politics, and social justice and nonprofit is really where your heart lies, I think a little bit of a reality check may be important. Not to say that you can’t earn six figures or multiple six figures in those categories but I do think it’s understandable that that may take a little bit more time.
It’s almost like this my love. You’re in the middle of a movie. It’s like if you were watching a movie and you went to the theater and you sat down and you’re eating your popcorn, and let’s say the movie was two hours long, and about 45 minutes in all hell breaks loose, right? There’s a ton of conflict and things are really disappointing and the main character seemed to be hitting a wall. If you walked out of the movie at that point, you might be like, “Well, those characters were failures. They never reached their goals. You know, they’re starting to do some things, but they had this conflict point. And then I left the theater because you know what? It just all didn’t work out.”
So for you, in many ways to hear that you’ve been at this for a few years, by the way, I commend you for that. But in my experience over a few decades, it takes much more than a few years for any business to get really successful. So that’s one thing I want to share. But more importantly, I think it’s crucial as you enter this next phase, this next chapter of your adventure, to really get clear on what is most important to you. What are those metrics that matter? If financial freedom, if the kind of profitability of a business is the most important thing that lights you up.
And by the way, there’s no shame in that I don’t want anyone listening or you to feel guilty about. I want to make a lot of money. It was actually a goal that I had for myself. I didn’t want to make it at the expense of people. I never would, or did do anything that violated my own morals or values or get anything out of integrity. It was always about doing good and making great money, right?. But I think that you need to get clear on your priorities and clear on your metrics for success so that you have a measuring stick by which you can evaluate your own goals and your progress and what you’re working on so that you feel good about them. And if money is one of your top things, I would encourage you to relook at whether or not being active in the non-profit sector or wanting to go in on grassroots political campaigns is actually the place that you want to devote your time and energy.
Alicia: Yeah, I definitely appreciate the question around getting clear on the metrics that are important to me. I will say I didn’t pursue this thinking that I would make a lot of money.
Marie Forleo: Yep.
Alicia: I haven’t been able to make enough money for it to be sustainable.
Marie Forleo: Yep.
Alicia: I’ve been fortunate to have a partner who’s been able to support me so I don’t have to, you know, take or sell business just to make rent once a month. But it’s really been like that not I have dreams of making tons of money, but that the viability of just the basic viability of it, isn’t there?
Marie Forleo: And so this might be good news though. You’re like, “Okay, I went down this path.” And rather than taking it as something that you actually failed, there’s a bunch of things that you did and accomplished, and now you can build off of them. Like, you wrote a book. That’s amazing.
Marie Forleo: For anyone publishing a book, I’ll tell you, I have friends, people that have platforms that are established on their platforms, and they still have trouble getting people to read their book. It is, it’s an enormous amount of work. Anything that you do in the era that we’re in right now, where there’s so many different places that people can look and put their attention, whether it’s social media or online blogs or television or podcast.
So there’s always going to be that battle for how do you get people to care about and pay attention. That’s intrinsic for all of us. But what I’m most interested in, is you not looking at everything that you’ve accomplished as a failure, but just as a starting point, and a launching point for what’s next. And can you extract lessons that are valuable, that will help you grow into this next chapter? Because I guarantee-
Marie Forleo: Yes. Okay, good. There you were like, “Yes,” that’s where we kind of heard some life because rather than looking at this, or feeling, and I’m not saying that this is your viewpoint on everything, but feeling defeated, or feeling like, “Wow, the world is a really unfriendly place, and no one’s supporting me and everything’s up an uphill battle.” It’s, you know what? The world is really challenging. And in order for me to create a business and life I love I’m going to have to get in there and be willing to be challenged. And I’m going to have to grow as a human and keep seeing things from this perspective of like, wow, this is really difficult and you know what? That means I need to get stronger. This is really challenging.
That means I need to up my skill set. Wow, what do I want to pay attention to? What is important to me? Understanding in this landscape, I only have 24 hours in a day, what is the most important thing to me for me to achieve? Is it a certain amount of money in the bank account or is it something else? And you’re the only one that can answer those questions. And I think part of what’s challenging about our world right now is that not enough of us are taking the time to define those metrics that matter. And therefore we’re just like a ping pong ball being bounced around. And we don’t have any kind of chart for our own course, something for us to set sail on so that we know that we’re on track for us. Not success defined by society, success defined by who we are and who we want to be.
Alicia: Yeah, I think I started a business for the wrong reasons, in some ways and just in a weird way watching Avengers Endgame recently where Thor at the end is like, “I’m not going to be who I’m supposed to be, who people think I’m supposed to be. I’m going to be who I am.” In a weird way that really resonated with me, because I think I allowed myself to believe that I needed the authority that came with running a particular business in a particular way in order to do the things that I dream about.
Marie Forleo: Yes.
Alicia: And that I can maybe let myself off the hook from that to say instead, how can I more directly, how can I qualify myself. Not qualify in terms of credentials, but qualify in terms of being, being suspicious of my own qualifications less and think more about just getting directly to the heart of what I want to do and the change that I want to create in the world.
Marie Forleo: Start there. The change you want to create in the world, that’s the most powerful position to build your dreams off of and to decide what kind of work that you want to do and where is going to be the best place for you to devote your time, your energy, and your talents, right?
Marie Forleo: Good.
Alicia: Um, I often when I described those dreams to people, they’re like, “Wow, that’s huge and ambitious and probably won’t be achieved in your lifetime.” So, I feel like part of my challenge is also like finding what is the slice of the dream that you tackle first in order to feel, in order to build towards the bigger dream?
Marie Forleo: Well, I think most of our dreams won’t be accomplished in this lifetime. That means that we’re playing a really big game and that’s awesome. My bet for you is to A, go back to where we started. Is to decide what are those metrics that really matter to you, right? How do you define success for yourself? And then don’t overthink this just get in and start doing the work. I love that you’ve identified that you started a business for the wrong reasons. That’s awesome. If I were you I’d also take some time to journal about what have these past couple years taught me? What are the lessons that I can extract for myself so that as I move forward, I’m not making the same mistakes again and again, but can actually use these experiences to fuel my growth?
Marie Forleo: Cool?
Alicia: Yeah, great.
Marie Forleo: Awesome.
Alicia: Thank you.
Marie Forleo: Well, we’re excited for you and I’m actually really excited. I love… I just want to highlight again to you’re like, “Well, my husband got this dream job in Europe, but I actually really wanted to live in Europe too” It’s like “Girl, you need to start focusing on what’s working rather than putting so much attention and energy on what doesn’t.“
Marie Forleo: Yes. Thank you for calling in today and keep us posted especially after your move. We’ll be here to cheer you on.
Alicia: Thanks, Marie. I appreciate you.
Marie Forleo: Awesome talk soon. Bye.