Hey, it’s Marie Forleo and you are watching MarieTV, the place to be to create a business and life you love. If you consider yourself an artist or a maker or an entrepreneur and you are really passionate and committed to creating and sharing great work in the world, even if life throws you a big, major curveball, then this episode is for you.
Grace Bonney is the founder of Design Sponge, a daily website founded in 2004 that’s dedicated to the creative community and reaches nearly 2 million readers per day. She runs an annual scholarship contest for up and coming designers and is the host of a weekly radio show, After the Jump. After 12 years in Brooklyn, Grace now lives in the Hudson Valley with her wife Julia and their three pets. Her new book, In the Company of Women: Inspiration and Advice From Over 100 Makers, Artists, and Entrepreneurs is available now.
Grace, thank you so much for coming back on the show.
I’m so happy to be here. Thank you for having me.
So you’ve been through a lot since our last conversation. Do you want to tell us about your journey and all the things that have happened since then?
It’s been a long… the last year has been a particularly long year. So in January of this year, in 2016, I was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes, which I didn’t even know adults could get. So that was a big shocker and it turned my life upside down. It turned my personal life upside down, it turned my work life upside down, and it was a sort of crass… crash course in getting to know my body, changing every habit from the way I eat to my lack of exercise, which is now a total 180. And now that I look back on that moment, which was just so difficult to get through in January, I have such sort of perspective on what a gift that was because it has fundamentally changed the way I love and work and I’m actually quite thankful for that now.
And so let’s dive into the granular bits of that because if anyone doesn’t know of your site and know of your work, they now will. But you run one of the most popular design blogs in the world, so getting a diagnosis like this and having so many significant changes required pretty immediately had to have a big impact on let’s just talk about your work life for a moment. How did you start to decide what to either press pause on, what to delegate, and was there fear around, oh my goodness, is my business just gonna crumble?
Yes to everything. There was fear everywhere. My life from January to March was just fear after fear after fear. And to be quite honest, I didn’t make decisions at first. I just fell into a really dark hole that involved a lot of, like, laying on the ground crying. And I was really fortunate that my team was kind of there to pick me up and say, “Hey, we can tell you’re going through this. We’re gonna run things for a while. Take some time, you know, go to all of your appointments, figure out what life looks like now. When you come back, we’ll figure out what to do.” And so I did. I took about a month and a half not totally off of work, but mostly off of work and to just kind of figure out what my day to day life was going to look like now. And there were a ton of doctors appointments, a lot of going back and forth between our home upstate and to my doctors in the city and seeing specialists. And there just… there frankly wasn’t time to work. It was just… it was my health was my work for 2 months. And once that was settled, it really gave me no choice but to prioritize my health and to realize, ok, the way that I’ve worked for the last 12 years of sitting on a couch totally sedentary, mostly in front of a television, working, you know, sometimes 10, 12 hour days, that can’t happen anymore. It’s just… it’s not good for my health. I have to be up and moving and I have to really have moments of calmness in my life. Because stress for type 1 or type 2 diabetes, but particularly for type 1, is really difficult on your numbers. And so I needed to make sure that my day was a bit more minimalized and streamlined. So I really learned to delegate, which is, I’m sure you know, if you run your own show, it is so hard.
Hardest thing in the world.
It’s… to give your baby over to somebody else, even small parts of that, it’s just so difficult. And for me, the majority of my day is really done communicating whether it’s with staff members or readers. And to give small aspects of that away to another person was so scary because I pride myself on the voice of the site, the tone of the site, and the way in which we communicate with people, to be respectful, to be careful of them and their time. And that’s really hard to train somebody else to do. But it’s been done now and I’m so thankful. And I still interact with everybody and I still run all of our social channels, but I’m not the person who answers every email anymore. And it was a hard thing to let go of, but it gave me time in my day to just be quiet, to walk the dogs, to just have time to kind of be quiet and be centered and those moments are so crucial for me now.
So you guys are really, really active. I mean, I follow you on Instagram and I love it. I love always seeing the stories and, you know, the posts. What are some of your other bigger social channels, and did you completely just go, like, hands off? I’m stepping away?
I did. Well, just for social?
Yeah. I mean, actually you can talk about anything, but I just… I’m so just innately curious because, again, you guys pump out incredible high quality, beautiful, meaningful content so much. So I know for our business, you know, for me to kind of step out for a month or 2, it makes my head want to explode. So I’m curious what your experience was particularly with social, because that’s how I know and follow you the most.
It’s interesting. I think that any time I’ve gone through a big change in my life, and I’ve gone through a couple quite publicly over the last 5 or 6 years, and every time I sort of am ready to share that online I have to kind of go through the process of understanding it myself, being ready for whatever feedback is going to come on the internet. Which, as you know…
A lot of it.
…is all over the place.
And so I really have to kind of feel safe in my own understanding of how that works into my identity and who I am and what I do now. And so I felt with diabetes in particular that the sooner I was ready to talk about it the better, because I knew how few resources there were online, especially for people my age who were diagnosed, and I just wanted somebody else who understood. And so I thought, ok, I’m gonna make this a part of our story very quickly because any time we’ve kind of made ourselves vulnerable whether it’s me or another team member discussing a health issue or life change or losing a house, something like that, it really kind of draws us in closer to the readers. So we cut back on the amount of posts we did across the board from I think we were at 5 posts a day and now we post 3 times a day. And I was updating obsessively on social before that and I really pulled back almost like, “If I open Instagram today? Cool. If not, no one’s gonna care. It’s not that big of a deal.” And it also was a good reminder that it’s so easy, I think social media kind of props up your ego in this way of everything you post someone says something about. So it can feel like all of that really is that important. And this was a good reminder for me to be like, you know, I love my dogs, some other people love my dogs, but no one’s gonna be upset if I don’t write anything on Instagram about them or anything else for a few weeks. So I backed off of it and it was a great lesson that nothing happened. It was fine. Life went on. No one was angry at me. When I did come back, people were, it seemed, more excited to kind of check in because I had been gone for a bit, so I think that was a good reminder. And I’ve talked to a lot of other people in my community who have gone through big changes and disappeared for a little bit and they’ve all echoed the same idea, which is those moments are so crucial to remembering that your audience loves you and wants to hear from you, but they are not going to sort of be so demanding and, you know, expectant of your time that if you do need to take time away they’re not going to be angry. They typically will be respectful.
I think that’s such an important part and it’s such an important part of this conversation. Because a lot of folks that I know that are pretty consistent content creators and have taken a lot of time and energy to build an audience and that is part of their business model, that’s part of how they put food on the table for their families, that’s part of how their employees are able to take care of their livelihoods and their children and their pets and everything, there’s such a fear. I think there’s two pieces to it. Right? There’s the actual nuts and bolts, is the business going to crumble? Is revenue gonna stop coming in? So I want to talk about that in the context of the internet’s evolution since our last conversation. But also I think from a more emotional and spiritual and perhaps egoic place, feeling like you’re going to be left behind or that everyone’s going to depart and you’re not going to matter anymore.
That’s a hard feeling and I think it’s one that if you work on the internet, you have every day.
And I struggle with the idea of relevancy constantly. Like is it important that I still have a voice on the internet? Is it important to talk about the same things that I used to talk about? And you can look online and find someone to convince you of either end of that spectrum. That you should be talking, that you shouldn’t be talking. And so that’s something that I’ve worked really hard is to tune out other people’s voices this year and just really focus on the things that matter to me, what doesn’t matter to me anymore. And that’s a hard transition because for me, we’ve been transitioning Design Sponge in particular sort of away from the idea of designed goods like furniture and products to the people behind those things and their stories and their struggles and their business life and their work life. And for me, that’s where the fascinating story is, but that’s not the case with all of our readers who would love to just see more shopping. And so that transition has been a scary one. But sort of everything I went through at the beginning of the year reminded me that it’s ok to make these changes and you might lose some people along the way, but you’ll gain a different type of audience and a different level of engagement, which I’ve found so fulfilling.
Let’s talk now about our last conversation. One of the things I thought was so fun, because you and I, I feel like we’re like OGs when it comes to the internet. We’ve been around it for a long time, we’ve been working online for a long time. I know Design Sponge started in 2004. And it’s just… we’ve seen so many evolutions and it feels like 2 years since our last conversation, one of the things that you shared with me that I was so grateful for your transparency because we’ll have a lot of folks in our audience who are like, “I just want to start a blog.” And I love that and I admire that and I’m always excited for people to express their creativity and if they want to start aiming it into a business, you know, it starts to become another conversation about what is the revenue model and, you know, how is this really going to become self-sustaining. And you were sharing that, at that time in 2014, advertising revenues, you were seeing a downward trend both for your own business and also just in terms of the entire landscape of friends and people that you know. I’m curious where you see things now whether it is in terms of advertising or other kind of trends in digital marketing from your point of view.
It’s funny, things have completely changed again just in the last two years, which is just so… it’s difficult to process because just as you get your footing there’s a new expectation or a sort of new shift in the ad market that favors something that you had just sort of unlearned or have to relearn. So for us I think we’ve seen the same trend progress, which is scary but exciting. I think in general, blog traffic to just your home base blog, it continues to kind of slowly shift to other places. And we see our social traffic increasing very quickly, which is exciting, but that’s not where we sell most of our ads. So it’s a challenge. It’s really scary to sort of have our audience grow in these really interesting places and they’re very different audiences in each, you know, our Instagram community is very different from the commenters on the site. And the same thing with Twitter and Facebook. And so you have these communities of people and you want to engage them, but you have an ad market that keeps saying, “Well, unless you put the… an actual product in your post, we’re not gonna pay you.” And that’s the challenge we’re facing right now. Because as a brand, we really want to be careful about how often we kind of just put products in people’s faces.
And that, I don’t have an answer for that. I wish I did. I wish I knew the correct way to do that and the right amount of that to put in. So it’s been kind of trial and error for us to see what feels real, which feels like too much for our readers and what feels like just enough. So we’re testing it out. And then I think like always, I like having outside projects going because I think if the Internet has taught me anything in the last 2 years it’s that you just cannot put all your eggs in one basket. And definitely not the blog basket. It’s gotta be another basket. So whether it’s, you know, podcasting or books or event series, all these things to kind of have all these irons in the fire. Whether or not they all work out, it doesn’t really matter. It’s kind of about constantly stretching and seeing which of these things sort of resonate.
I think there is too, there’s a place where we can go, right? And we see this in our own business as well. It’s like I’m watching stuff start to whittle and die in certain areas and I’m watching other things start to grow and it really requires a sense of courage to try new things. And it’s such an iterative process and sometimes I find myself slightly frustrated when I… like this is the formula you need to follow. I’m like, dude, there is no friggin’ formula.
Shit changes way too fast. It’s going to continue changing and evolving, and especially when it comes to digital marketing. Every single platform has so many layers of complexity. And there’s so much detail. Like somebody would be like, “How do you put up a Facebook ad?” And I’m like, dude, Facebook ads, the level of targeting, the level of remarketing. You could have a whole department just for that.
And so I’m curious if you have had conversations with folks who are just wanting to start their own business and have an online component and how you have either advised them or anything that you’ve told them about this world is very different than when you and I started and it was a lot simpler.
Absolutely. It’s funny, I used to tell people find your voice. Find out what makes your voice different and things like that. And at this point I feel like that advice doesn’t really apply in the same way anymore. I feel like now I’m encouraging people to find what they have fun doing because for me, what separates a great podcast or a great YouTube show or a great anything from the other competition is somebody who you can tell is enjoying what they’re doing. And I think so many people are sort of coming up in this era of new sort of platforms, whether it’s social or a website, and they come out as these fully formed brands right away, which is great if that’s natural to who you are, but I think sometimes I want to see, like, where’s the spontaneity. Where’s the moment where maybe it didn’t go exactly as planned but it was still really fun. And I look for those moments of just sort of, I don’t know, like relatability? Is that a word? I look for those moments and…
It is a word, yeah.
It’s a word at least to me.
Yeah. And so I look for those moments and I think that a lot of times when you’re new, no one wants to look like an amateur. But I actually love that. I love someone that feels fresh and different and new and isn’t perfectly shiny all the sudden. You want to watch them evolve, and I love that evolution. So I think rather than spending all of this time trying to get the perfect logo, the perfect launch to your channel or whatever it is, figure out what’s fun to you and do more of that. Because no matter how much you love your job, that old expression if you love your job you’ll never work a day in your life.
There will be days where you have to pay bills and taxes and do…
You wanna stick a fork in your eye. I have so many days… I mean, not literally, but you know. Like everyone… I want to pull all of my hair out, like, one by one.
It’s too pretty.
And yes, it’s real. I know… that’s one of our running jokes, like, “Marie, your extensions look so good today.” I’m like, “It’s mine.”
I saw it coming together. It’s real. It is real.
But yeah. No, I think back to the kind of core question, it is. I think also it’s natural for people to want things to look polished and to have them look so professional out of the gate, but what we really crave is that genuine connection to a human.
If you look at the types of videos that take off, like viral videos, they’re always real people. They’re real people doing something that’s funny, that’s relatable. And it doesn’t mean you have to be a comedian or, like, accidentally trip over things all the time. Whatever that thing is that you enjoy doing, just film it without limits. Just think about it, record it, write it. Whatever it is and put it out there and have fun with it. Because the longer standing something becomes, you get involved in the aspects of your business that aren’t as fun.
And so the more that you can do up front that’s just enjoyable, that’s where great ideas come from. I find that very little creativity and sort of idea building comes from the planning stage of something. It’s just not where you kind of let your brain roam and have great ideas. So the more you can really kind of just have fun with it and learn and make mistakes, that’s where magic happens.
You know, we were talking off camera, like I was saying, you know, we shot the day before and I was having a particularly stressful few couple of weeks that were rough, just a variety of issues. You know, like any business owner, they can all start to stack up. And, you know, it was the time we were writing MarieTV and I was just at that point where I felt like I couldn’t write anymore, so the dumbest, silliest jokes were coming out, which we shot yesterday. I was like, “Oh, my God. We haven’t had this much fun doing these many silly things.” With like medieval costumes and people wrapped in, like, crazy stuff. It was one of the best days we’ve had in a long while and it all came from not trying to do anything too perfectly. Like, throwing it on the page and then letting it go.
And those will be the moments that people respond to the most strongly. And I find that I do my best writing when I do have some strong emotion, whether it’s anger or sadness or fear or just wanting to laugh and share something that’s funny. Those are the moments that maybe you’re not gonna sell the most ads on that post, but those are the moments that will keep your readers coming back. And I think every business needs to kind of let those moments shine through because that’s when your customer, your client, or your reader really gets to know you a little bit better.
And that’s… that’s what we’re all here for is we want to support people’s businesses, but I want to know the people and the stories behind those businesses too.
So let’s move on to this book, which is, by the way, just absolutely gorgeous. You guys, In the Company of Women. I’ve been having so much fun reading everyone’s stories. So this particular book did not start out as this particular book. You were set to write another DIY crafting book and then you went, record scratch, let’s turn this beat around. Tell us, why did that happen? What happened? What was that process like?
That was one of the scariest moments of the last 12 years of my business. Because I had a contract, I had received money, I agreed to write a DIY encyclopedia that was supposed to be this mammoth sort of testament to, you know, glue and doing things with your own two hands. And I did that thing where I just dragged my feet and I dragged my feet. And I’ve gotten better at identifying that’s a sign that something’s wrong, but I just kept saying, “I signed a contract. You can’t go back on a contract. What would that say about me and what would that do to my business?”
You’re a horrible person.
Yes. I just totally fell down that shame hole. And I had this moment of just I don’t want to put my name on something that I don’t believe in.
And that can be a very idealistic thought to have and it can, you know, it can’t always be one that you can actually act on because sometimes you’re financially just not able to go backwards. And so I met with my accountant and I said would it be possible for me to give this advance back? What would happen to my business? And we figured out that it would be feasible. It wouldn’t be great, but it would be feasible. And I just had the realization that I cared more about not putting something out into the world that I felt half-hearted about. So I was talking with my wife Julia about it and she said, “Well, is there any other idea that you have that you might want to pursue?” And I had wanted to write a business book for years, but now that we have all of these great business books for women that are out in the last like 2 or 3 years, that’s something that people are recognizing is important. But when I was pitching this 3 or 4 years ago, it wasn’t really happening and people were like, “I don’t know. Business books for women? There are already business books.” But I felt like there was something different that needed to be said. So I sat down, I wrote this pitch, Julia helped me make a one page. I sent it off to my publisher and I said, “I’m sorry, I can’t fulfill this contract. My heart’s not in it. I’m prepared to give you my advance back and just completely apologize for making this mistake, but here’s this other idea and if you’re into it I would love to talk.” And I sent the email, slammed my laptop shut and, like, hid. Because it was this moment of this is something I really want.
I want this so badly, bad enough to fall flat on my face and have to give a ton of money back and just realize what a mistake I had made. And I ended up lucking out and my publisher was excited about the idea, she loved it. And then she said, “Well, you can do this but you have 2 months,” what was my original deadline. So in the course of 2 months we interviewed over 100 women, we traveled across the country, and I was lucky enough to find a photographer, Sasha Israel, who was like, “I’m up for this. Let’s do it. Book the flights. Let’s go.” And so we traveled across the country with Kelly, who manages the team at Design Sponge who kind of project managed the entire book, and the three of us just had the greatest summer ever just meeting these incredible women who I never thought I would have a chance to talk to and then taking everything they said and compiling it into a book that I think, hopefully, will relate to women everywhere of every age and every stage in their career. And that was really important to me because I think so many business books are about people who are at, you know, fortune companies and they’re doing so well and are getting tons of press, but I think there’s a lot to learn from people who are only a few years into their business too because they remember what that early stage was like.
Yes, they’re closer into it.
And they can speak usually more articulately about some of the very specific challenges and fears and doubts and how they were able to bridge over to getting traction and keeping it going. I loved it and I love the diversity of every kind that is represented in this book. I think you did a brilliant job. And you did this in 2 months? You guys… I mean, I know it’s a lot more than 2 months, but the kind of core creation of it?
Absolutely. It was 2 months of interviewing. We traveled as many places as possible. I mean, some women were in, like, Nigeria, some were in Seattle. And so that wasn’t gonna happen, but I traveled to as much within the continental United States as possible and met these people. Some people we met with for 20 minutes, some people we spent a day talking to. And it really kind of just depended on where the conversation went. And the questions were set up to encourage transparency, honesty about things not working out. And my caveat was just I need this person to be open to discussing the things that were failures because I think failure is a word that has such a negative connotation, but for me those are the real opportunities to learn because I so rarely learn anything huge and life changing from things that do work out. I learn so much more from things that don’t work out. And maybe that’s just, like, my way of making the best of the fact that I make a lot of mistakes, but I really enjoy learning from the mistakes that I’ve made and that other people have made.
And all these women were so wonderfully honest about these moments and not just that they’ve made them, but that they continue to make them 20, 30, 40 years into their career. And that taught me so much.
We make mistakes all the time. Like, I’ll see things that I’m doing, the way I’m asking people questions, I’m like I should know better than this by now, and I don’t. And then I learn some and I’m like, “Oh, wow. This is some growth here,” but I think what you just said is so true. We never stop making mistakes. And then coupled with what we were talking about just a few minutes ago, if you’re in the digital space, oh goodness are you gonna make an enormous amount of mistakes and you will continue… like, it’s all about testing and evolving and iteration.
And everyone sort of understands and embraces the idea of nobody’s perfect, but we all still try to be, which is a problem. And I felt like I was still holding myself to the standard of I looked at women I admired who are in this book and thought well, one day if I can get my business to where her business is I will feel complete and finished. And then I…
The angels will come down…
Exactly, someone will give you a big plaque and a ribbon and just say like, “Move on. You’ve done it. Great job.” And that’s never gonna happen. That might have… that might come in small moments of realizing, like, this was a good thing, this worked out, but there’s never gonna be a finish line. And hearing from women who were in their 60s, 70s, 80s who are still going strong, who are saying I just made a huge mistake yesterday, but it’s not about the mistake. It’s about how you recover from that. And that was a huge takeaway for me because I think I’m so often so terrified of having to apologize or correct something and instead I just need to spend more time figuring out how to do that in a way that works for me. Because I am going to make a lot of mistakes and the sooner I can teach myself to just apologize or course correct or fix that thing rather than be so terrified of it happening, I can put so much more time into other much more fun things.
Yeah, absolutely. I love this conversation. I could talk to you for hours and hours and hours. You know, there are actually some incredible questions in your book that I know you’re not a profile in your book, but I was like, “I wanted Grace to be one.” So if it’s ok, I thought I would ask you some of the questions that you asked of your subjects.
So, Miss Grace Bonney, what was the best piece of business advice you were given when you were starting out?
I think someone told me, and I think this might have been my father who also runs his own business, was that no one will ever believe and trust in your business as much as you do. And that’s… it’s a hard lesson to learn, but an important one because I’ve had so many wonderful employees over the years who believe in the business, but no one will ever eat, sleep, and breathe your company the way that you are as a founder. And so I think that’s been… it’s allowed me to sort of relax with my employees and be like it’s ok. You don’t have to have the same level of dedication as long as we all do what we show up to do every day and we do it with happiness and excitement and passion. It’s ok if we all have different levels of involvement. That’s totally alright. And so that… that’s kind of stayed with me for a long time.
Ok, tell me if this is too much overlap, but name the biggest overall lesson that you’ve learned in running a business.
Well, it’s one that I’ve only learned recently and that came from writing this book, which was there is no such thing as work life balance and I have been the biggest huxter with that. I have done so many podcasts where I thought I had the answer to figuring it out. And I kept thinking like, ok, if I just work this much less and Marie Kondo my life enough to, like, take things out and if I just…
Oh, my goodness. Can we just roll up those tshirts and my panites and make them just…
If I talk to enough of my socks and clean them out. I will figure out the secret to life and work feeling, like, this zen static moment. And then I talked to so many wise women with so much life experience who were like, “Girl, stop. That doesn’t exist. It will never exist. It’s a seesaw. It’s always gonna go back and forth and the sooner that you can realize that everyone is going back and forth, you can just relax.” Because I just kept thinking I wasn’t doing something right. Like, what have I still not learned in 12 years of running the same company that I can always have days where I feel like I didn’t work enough or I wasn’t at home enough or where is that balance? And then I talked to so many women, especially working moms, that were like, “You know what? There are going to be days where you can’t go to the soccer game, or days when you can’t be at that meeting you wish you could be at. And that’s alright, no one can be everywhere and be everything to everyone.” And that, I think hearing enough women say that to me face-to-face in this very heartfelt way, it just finally got through. And so it’s… I just feel so much calmer at work now. I’m like, ok, that’s… I’m sorry I wasn’t there when you needed me to be, but I’ll try to do better next time. And just… and that understanding is just it’s a level of peace in my business I didn’t know I could find.
That’s really beautiful. You know, I was at a friend’s book launch the other night and there was a few of us onstage and I forget what the question was to me, but I just felt the need to say like, for… there’s 800 people in the audience and I was like, you know, you think that us sitting up here, like, have all our shit together. We do not. And it reminds me of kind of what you’re talking about. Whenever people ask me, like, how do you balance it all? I’m like I actually really suck at it. You know, I am not good at it at all. It’s caused problems in my relationships, it’s caused a lot of stress. Like, I’ve… we’ve talked about it many times in the show. I love my work, I can… I can do it almost nonstop. And so I love you sharing this so it can open up that discussion so more women aren’t beating themselves up thinking that they’re doing something wrong. Because that’s a place you can always live in.
Yeah and you can learn from those moments. And I’m gonna call you out because I was watching your Super Soul Sunday session…
…where you talked about the airplane ticket.
And I… in that moment Julia and I were both like, “Oh, we’ve been there before,” where you’re like I can pull this off. I can do everything at every moment. And sometimes you have to have those moments to remind you, like, “Oh, ok. I’m not Superwoman. I don’t have to be. That’s totally ok.” And none of us are. No matter how many times you are on television or have perfect hair and perfect makeup and a perfect house, your life isn’t going to be perfect. And I think the sooner everybody understands that, you know, magazine stories and television stories and they’re all… there’s a team of 40 people behind them styling and, you know, zhushing everything.
And they weren’t perfect when they arrived. And I understand why that all exists and we all like to look at beautiful things, myself included, but I also just really appreciate the moments in life where things are a little crooked and a little off.
And they fall apart. Like I was sharing the past couple of weeks for us just, and for me specifically, has been really stressful. A friend of mine texted me and was like, “Hey,” we were talking about something business related, “and besides that, how are you?” And I wrote back, “Actually, not that good.” Like, I’m physically I’m ok, but there’s a shitstorm happening around me that I just… it’s not fun at the moment and I don’t expect it to be fun for a little while. But, you know, thanks for asking. And it was such a wonderfully real conversation just via text and it was so great to not say I’m fine.
Yeah. And why do we feel the pressure to do…? I feel women in particular feel that pressure to be like, “It’s alright. Everything’s fine. Oh, no. It’s busy, but I’ve got it under control. Just grinding it out,” like that sort of thing. And it’s not. And I remember you and I emailed earlier this year right when I was in the thick of my diagnosis and we were gonna do something together and I was so excited but that I could barely put both my shoes on without crying. And I just thought I have to just step down from everything right now. And that’s so hard to say and I just had this moment of I’m letting everyone down. But I just thought if I don’t learn this lesson now when the most important thing in the world, which is just your health and your existence, if that’s being threatened, like, when will you learn that lesson? And that’s really helped me be a little bit better at being if someone says like, “Hey, how are you today?” and I’m like, “Had better days.” And it gives you a chance… then that other person feels comfortable to say that too. And that kind of, I don’t know, like someone else pushes the door open and then everybody else feels a little bit more comfortable to be vulnerable.
Yeah, and to be real. I think there’s probably an important distinction. I can hear our audience saying, “Well, what’s the difference between that and complaining?” And I think there is probably an important distinction. I think, you know, for most of us, being real, like what you said, and just saying, “Hey, I’m actually having a tough day.” You know, you can still keep the perspective of having gratitude that you’re alive, that you’re breathing, that you have a roof over your head, that compared to millions of other people, yes, your life is fine. And you can be honest about struggling, you can be honest about not feeling so good or going through something that’s really difficult and you’re not quite sure what to do. And I think both of those things can exist. I think you can be a real human and not necessarily get sucked down into this place of negativity or complaint.
Yeah. I think the more that people, and especially in business, accept that it’s never black and white. It’s never this or that. It’s always the and. It is just always. And I’ve learned that from my wife Julia who just kind of fully embraces this idea of and and everything. And if you can accept that the people you admire who are up on stages, that they also have bad days and they also have moments where things don’t work out or they get rejected or these things that we associate with just not having made it yet. That all exists alongside the good moments too. And it allows people that we admire to be fully formed human beings and to have days that suck or they do something wrong and that’s totally ok.
This has been such a beautiful conversation. Thank you so much for coming on again.
I love talking to you. Thanks for having me.
We’ve got to do it more. You’re welcome. So everybody, if you’re watching this and you don’t yet have this beautiful book, In the Company of Women, you should definitely, definitely get your hands on it. Give it to your friends. Give it to your guy friends, your girl friends, anyone who would be inspired with 100 makers, artists, and entrepreneurs with tons of inspiration and advice. So I can’t wait to keep in touch and hear what’s going on next. Thanks for coming on.
Me too. Thanks, Marie.
Now Grace and I would love to hear from you. So we talked about so many amazing things today. I would love to know what is the single biggest insight that you’re taking away from this conversation. And, if applicable, how can you put that insight into action right now?
As always, the best conversations happen after the episode over at MarieForleo.com, so go there and leave us a comment now. We can’t wait to see what you have to say. Now, if you are there and you are not yet subscribed to our email list, you should really do so. You’ll become an MF insider. And when you do that, you’ll get instant access to a little audio training I created called How to Get Anything You Want. You’ll also get some exclusive content and special giveaways and insider updates from me that I just don’t share anywhere else.
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I had too much coffee.
We could do like an Aaron Sorkin style interview, just walk everywhere. Get that energy out.
I think… you know what? That may be our next evolution because I’m, like, feeling like a caged…
Walking, talking, walking, talking.
Everyone sitting? I see someone walking. Put a seatbelt on.
This is your last zhush, you know that, right?