Marie Forleo's new book Everything Is Figureoutable begins with a surprising revelation: The media mogul didn't start her now-million dollar life coaching practice full time for several years. She bartended, cleaned toilets and even did hip-hop dance until her work was financially sustainable. It is the direct opposite of our modern jump-in-head-first business culture.
I talked to Forleo today and asked her why she feels proud about her multi-hat career.
To feel shameful is a recipe for failure as you're doing the work you need to do, but not giving yourself the permission to feel joy for showing up.
Loving where you are
Forleo is pointing to gratitude as well as opportunism: Being appreciative of where you are and maximizing the benefits of being where you are.
You could call it gracious opportunism.
If you have a traditional day job, then you likely have health insurance, a retirement plan and a steady paycheck. If you have a startup, then you likely have strategic freedom, potentially large gains and a unique opportunity for impact. And if you are juggling a bunch of opportunities, then you are getting benefits from all of them.
I tell my coaching clients that strategic career choices bring more security - and that finding independent success while you're at a 9-to-5 may be the ultimate win, as you figured out how to make your impact in your limited time while keeping your stability.
Side hustles and day jobs aren't foolish, but ways to multiply your chances of success.
Doing whatever you do on purpose
If anything, Forleo made one thing clear:
For those 7 years I did side hustles, that was by choice! I loved all aspects: I loved the hip-hop dancing, I loved my coaching clients, and I even loved the bartending since I connected with people.
Too often, we are fighting for the next goal post: Once we get funding, once our kids get out of the house, once my inspiration kicks in, then my life, my joy, my purpose will come in and everything will be right in my world. That time will never come. Worse, you'll miss those wonderful gems and precious insights only found in your current life situation.
I share as much in my new book Bring Your Worth:
And frustration over your current situation should be acknowledged, but only as a barometer for what you don't want in the future, as your disdain for today will keep you focused only on what you lack now rather than what you desire tomorrow. Be as clear and as transparent and as honest as possible about what you want, regardless of your current moment, as the more visionary you become with your future, the more you will, knowingly and unknowingly, start to build systems to make it real.
Where did Forleo's amazing people skills get honed? Slinging drinks. How did she learn to manage her energy during big public speaking events? Probably from teaching dance classes.
All of your day jobs, side hustles and make-ends-meet moments become the breadcrumbs to your future. As Forleo says, there is no shame in that.