everything is figuroutable book review

If the multiple crises we’re facing today has taught us anything, it’s that resilience, ingenuity, and adaptability will carry us through if we trust our abilities. 

With the goal of adding a new perspective to my already known growth mindset and problem solving strategies, I selected the book “Everything is Figuroutable.” Author, Marie Forleo, lays out strategies in this book to help you get a handle on how to figure things out for yourself, with the first premise being that every problem can be solved. If it can’t be figured out, in Marie’s mind, it’s not truly a problem. 

This book reflection will turn your thoughts from…

“I wish I could ______ but…”

“I need to wait until _____ happens.”

…to a growth mindset of:

“I can learn as I go.”

“Every problem I come across can be figured out.”

11 True to Life Lessons

(Plus the most memorable quotes from Marie Forleo)

1. Your personal beliefs hold the magic 

I remember the first day I set foot on my undergrad college campus to start freshman orientation. I was a 17-year-old girl from a small-town, with a graduating class around 100, who had a big appetite for exploring what the world had to offer. It was larger than anything I had ever experienced. 

During orientation the host made a point to mention a staggering statistic – one that has stuck with me until this day: “Only one in four of you will graduate.” At that moment I was a deer in headlights. Then I turned to my parents and said “I will be that one person,” I was determined. As a first generation college student, all I had was my personal belief to get me through because the learning curve was going to be the biggest hill I climbed until that point.

“Beliefs are hidden scripts that run our lives.” 

Mindset is what controls our behaviors, feelings, and beliefs. The first step into setting out to problem solve is first believing that you are capable. Your personal beliefs hold the magic.

2. Always be trying if you want to be growing in all ways

When you take on a new job you’re ramping by learning everything you can to get up-to-speed; it’s a combination of feeling overwhelmed, yet excitedly driven. Then there’s a point in time in your job when you’re on cruise control. The comfort in your job turns into a passive mindset which experts call a fixed mindset – meaning you’re no longer stretching, adding new inputs, trying new things, and you’re closing off opportunities before they can begin.

 “There can be no significant change in the world unless we first have the courage to change ourselves.”

Opening yourself up to ask questions like “What can I learn” or “How can I make this work for me?,” are important starters to continuous improvements. The alternative is to turn into a permanent fixture in your job and have limited progression. Always be trying if you want to always be growing.

3. Start from where you are today and ride the wave

Back-in-the-day there was a desk ornament that sat in most bank offices that was a line-up of silver balls hanging from a bar. If you moved one ball, it would knock into the rest of the balls and continue the movement by just the power of itself in motion. (I have no idea why this image sits in my mind, its been there since childhood).

“Momentum is the secret elixir. Start before you’re ready.”

Sometimes before anything gets to the starting line there’s an over abundance of research, planning, strike throughs, and discussions. The energy gets expelled before even having gotten off the starting block, primarily because fear, second guesses, or rerouting takes place. I’ve read that clarity comes from action and that action builds momentum. Start from where you are and set the first ball in motion.

4. Too many reasons do not equal results

My parents taught me the value of hard work. Skills in office work and skilled trades, sometimes with multiple jobs, my parents made it clear that you get what you work for. This is where my belief started – anyone can achieve what they envision, regardless of where they were born or what class they were born into – as long as they do the work.

“There are two kinds of people in the world: those with reasons and those with results.”

We all have many reasons why something can’t work, can’t come true, or can’t be done. It’s our safety net, the thing that keeps us in that comfort bubble a little bit longer. It’s okay to have those thoughts, but once you have them, write them down and really determine if they are roadblocks or if they are problems that need more time to be figured out. Check your reasons, and ask yourself “how might I make this work?”

5. Self-responsibility truly is the key to personal freedom

You’ve probably seen the advertisements or books on the ‘new morning’ routines as it’s all the craze – and for good reason. In essence the morning routine kicks off the day by mapping your goals with the tasks you layout for the day. It’s also about looking at your full scope of time and looking at how much time is spent on working, sleeping, eating healthy, exercising, and reflecting.

“Lasting happiness can only come when you take 100% responsibility for yourself.”

Managing yourself in terms of your time, your headspace, and your energy will give you a new outlook. You’ll begin to put yourself at the top of the list first thing in the morning to ensure you have a full cup when leaning in to visible projects at work or help others.

6. Increase your odds of success by 42%

Marie Forleo was insistent on this one. You’re able to increase your odds of reaching any goal by 42%. To get the odds in your favor, simply put the goals that are already circling in your head down on paper. The trick is to write them down daily, not just once a year, once a quarter, or once a month. (Pick up a pen and paper, or if you’re like me, a sharpie and a sticky note).

If you’re curious about the background of this statistic, check out the study that was conducted by Dr. Gail Matthews, a psychology professor at Dominican University of California, by visiting this article that was written by CNBC.

7. Fail forward to move forward

This means moving forward in spite of failing, by finding the positives when something didn’t work the way you might have expected. This can also be the mindset that we place on ourselves before attempting something new. Marie points out that thoughts of perfection can seep into your mind and sound like “I can’t handle another set back” or “I can’t get everything I want now, what’s the point?” These are thoughts of perfection. Instead, she suggests switching this mindset to be focused on progress building like “Doing hard things makes me stronger,” or “I’ll start small and simple now, then iterate and evolve over time.” Know that failing forward is acceptable.

“Progress not perfection is the only way to bridge the gap between your ability and your ambition.”

A way to incorporate this mindset at work: add it to your team agendas. My team will attest that failing forward is one of my most coachable tips that I persistently say. It’s actually at the top of each staff meeting agenda along with recognitions. It’s how we built a 100% fearlessness skill across the team. Conversations about failing forward built trust within our team and helped us solve issues together. As individuals we’re learning everyday that we must fail forward to move forward.

8. Patience is just as important as speed 

The always-on and immediate gratification that comes with technology makes it more difficult to cultivate patience. Even the simplest ideas feel like they must be accomplished in a short amount of time. You may find yourself saying “It only took me an hour!” What if it took you two hours? Does this mean your output is not as good? Try separating the time to complete tasks away from the feeling of accomplishment. The attachment brings about anxiety if you’re not completing something as quickly as you hoped.

“Just because the idea is simple doesn’t mean the road ahead is easy.”

A way to curve the panic is by splitting your vision between both long-term and short-term goals. This applies for work and your personal life. Patience is needed when chasing long-term goals as they are so far into the future. It’s easy to get tripped up wondering “Am I even on the right track?” or “Am I making any progress?” Your short-term goals can help you find the answers to those questions versus relying on timestamps. Patience is just as important as speed. 

9. Level up your self-talk

As you learn, fail forward, and have successes, you’ll need to level up your self-talk along the way. You are your greatest advocate and your worst critic. The belief you have about yourself and your abilities is the starting point for achievement, and in order to maintain momentum in the journey, you need to speak to yourself kindly. 

“The most powerful words in the universe are the words you say to yourself.”

10. The power isn’t out there. It’s you.

Those were the first words I read in “Everything is Figuroutable” before even viewing the contents. While I’m definitely someone who enjoys motivational quotes, this one struck me differently. There’s a reason Marie Forleo led with this sentiment. There is so much out of our control at the moment while we learn how to navigate multiple crises, it can quickly feel overwhelming.

While the world may be in shambles, if the situation is viewed through your personal lens when being present, it can look differently. It’s truly up to you in how you respond to situations, how you build personal motivation to push through circumstances, and how you continue to develop yourself in order to help others move forward. The power isn’t out there. It’s you.

11. Repay your learnings to others as you go

I whole-heartedly agree with Marie on this one. As I learn, grow, and stretch, I’ll bring you alongside me on my journey of continuous personal development and intentional growth. 

“Ultimately, the measure of our lives is not determined by what we achieve for ourselves; it’s determined by what we share, give, and contribute to others.” 

Lasting Thoughts

Pretty powerful isn’t it? To know that everything is figureoutable. 

Lean into the hard work that’s coming up. It’s OK if you’re uncomfortable, invite that discomfort in and make a plan for how you will respond thoughtfully.

Questions? Any advice or experiences to add? Share below in the comments — I look forward to reading them and responding! 

Read Next

Follow me for career development, personal growth, and leadership:  Instagram | Twitter LinkedIn | KristiJAllen.com