from feeling stuck and unfulfilled, marielle shares her storIES of overcoming self-doubt and the fear of settling

Photo by  Jide Alakija

Photo by Jide Alakija

ON building the COURAGE to venture out alone:

"One of the biggest transitions that shaped who I am today was having the courage to leave an unfulfilling job to travel solo around Brazil back in February 2010. I didn’t tell anyone about my plans - I just quit.  I was having what I’d best describe as a quarter-life crisis. Nothing excited me and I was stuck in a rut. I needed to shake things up. I was scared to travel alone up until that point because I’d heard so many horror stories. So this is how I knew it was exactly what I needed to do. I didn’t want fear to stop me. Many of my friends thought I was insane to want to travel alone. Little did I know, it was preparing me for an even bigger, braver move of relocating to New York from London a few years later. In looking back, the Brazil trip was preparing me to adapt to living in a new country alone."

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"When I moved for work to New York from London, I got a massive culture shock. I’d often hear people talk about the culture of corporate America being cut-throat, individualistic and massively political. Since this was my first US job, I didn’t know what to expect. For example, I had no idea what a cubicle was because open plan offices are the norm in the UK. To make matters worse, I only knew one person when I moved, so I felt incredibly alone and isolated. From the outside, my friends in London thought I was living the high life, often comparing me to Carrie Bradshaw from Sex and the City, but my reality was very different. There was no office dynamic, most people either worked from home or sat alone and not as a team. In the UK, I had grown accustomed to working as part of a supportive team where we were friends outside of work. So being thousands of miles away from my family and friends and having to sit by myself all day at work was new to me. I’d often cry at my desk, while listening to Tony Robbins to keep my spirits up. I can look back and smile, but at the time I felt really stuck. I knew I couldn’t stay in that environment. I kept the focus on my ‘why’ and worked hard on my exit plan every single day by waking up early and staying up late. Of course, I was grateful to be employed and have the opportunity to work in New York, but I couldn’t stay in an unfulfilling environment where the people around me just stayed in their job solely out of fear."

" the time I felt really stuck. I knew I couldn’t stay in that environment.  I kept my focus on my ‘why’ and worked hard on my exit plan every single day by waking up early and staying up late."

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"I learned from my life-changing trip to Brazil and relocation to New York that fear is something that can either drive you forward or stop you in your tracks. I created Women Who Influence, a personal brand and publicity community for female entrepreneurs in the Summer of 2017. I saw a need for women to learn how to more effectively promote their expertise. Up until that point, I had never run an online business. Although I’ve worked in PR for over a decade, the learning curve into the digital marketing world has been steep! I have invested thousands of dollars on my personal development, attending seminars, conferences and working with mentors and coaches to soak up as much as I can. Landing pages, sales funnels and automation were all things I had to master pretty quickly. I’ve definitely become more resilient and determined - key skills for any entrepreneur. It definitely hasn’t been the smoothest ride and I’ve made a ton of mistakes along the way, but I've developed a greater sense of self. I know what works for me and what doesn’t. I’d never have learned about myself in such a deep way from playing it safe. Challenging myself to do the things that scare me has boosted my confidence." 

"it definitely hasn't been the smoothest ride and i've made a ton of mistakes along the way, but i have developed a greater sense of self. I KNOW WHAT WORKS FOR ME AND WHAT DOESN'T."

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"I felt extremely vulnerable in the run up to the launch of my book. Impostor syndrome is real even though I am proud for completing it. A few days before the launch, all these doubts came up. I frantically phoned a friend telling her, “I’m not ready. I'll just postpone the launch another week or until the new year.” She reminded me that there would never be a right time and that I should just go for it. Having friends who support and encourage you when you're doubting yourself is so important. Last week, I launched the book in London to a jam-packed room of 45 women, so I'm glad I went for it.

Entrepreneurship is an emotional rollercoaster with lots of highs and lows. It can be isolating, especially in the early stages when you’re in ‘build mode’, overseeing so many different areas of the business.  I don’t have a big team cheering me on. I make all the decisions, even when I don’t know what I’m doing! It's scary at times, but I’ve since reframed the way I think about failure. I view it now as feedback, which puts a totally different spin on it." 

"...I've since reframed the way I think about failure. I view it now as feedback, which puts a totally different spin on it."

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"I don't struggle as much as I used to with being brave, but that’s only because I’ve consciously pushed myself to do things that scare me. I've quit jobs, traveled alone, moved countries, done lots of public speaking, hosted my own events (even while fearing no one would show up!), and written a book. These are all things that I’ve done while being afraid. I look back on these major achievements and constantly remind myself that we are all capable of achieving whatever we want, we just have to keep going. I constantly seek new challenges that scare me a little. To be honest, if it doesn’t scare me, I know I’d get bored pretty quickly. When feeling afraid I get into action because momentum energizes me."  

"When feeling afraid I get into action because momentum energizes me."

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"The idea of settling terrifies me. Many people settle into okay jobs, relationships and a boring life. Then they hit 40 and realize they’ve been coasting. The thought of settling keeps me going when things get tough. One of my favorite quotes spring to mind whenever I think about settling: “Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well-preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside in a cloud of smoke, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming "Wow! What a Ride!” — Hunter S. Thompson"


"Everything you need is within. I used to think that external things would fulfill me, but after much soul searching, I’ve learned that I have I have all I need. I just have to be brave enough to tap into it. Don’t wait for the perfect time. There really is no such thing. Life is happening now and it’s important to live it boldly and with intention. Happiness truly is an inside job."  

"Don't wait for the perfect time. There is no such thing. Life is happening now and it's important to live it boldly and with intention."



HER BOOK: The Personal Brand Bible for Ambitious Women