Commusings: 5 Steps to Accomplish Any Dream (Without Burning Out) by Marie Forleo

Feb 19, 2022

Dear Commune Community,

A banker from Rome went on vacation to a seaside village in Cinque Terre, Italy. On his first morning, as he sipped his espresso from his balcony, he noticed the fishing skiffs setting off from the harbor. Three hours later, before lunch, he spotted a boat return and tie up to the end of the jetty. The fisherman heaved 4 plump branzini on to the dock, then disembarked his small craft, tossed the fish in a rucksack and, whistling a tune, slowly headed off.

After observing this same routine for three days, the banker could not help but scurry down from his hotel room and introduce himself to the fisherman. 

“I have been admiring the beautiful fish you catch,” said the banker to the fisherman.

“Thank you,” said the fisherman. “My family eats them every night.”

“You know these branzini claim top dollar in the markets in Rome. I have a question for you. I notice you only fish half the day. Is there a lack of fish in the sea?”

“No, there are plenty of fish,” replied the fisherman. 

“Because, if you fished the entire day,” continued the banker, “you could sell the ones you didn’t eat at the market. And this would generate enough money to pay for additional crew that could double your daily catch. And, with this yield, you could purchase another boat. Can you imagine how many fish you would catch every day? Enough to purchase a truck to drive them to markets in the city. Of course, you’d need a driver and ice. But the city markets will pay you a sufficient amount to purchase your own fleet with distribution throughout Italy.”

The fisherman listened patiently to the banker for some time as he wove his web.

“And after you have built your branzini empire, you can cash out and use the money to retire, buy a small house by the sea and just fish half a day for yourself.” 

Yes, this yarn is a bit trite. But there is great truth in it. We have so sanctified busyness in the pursuit of riches that we’ve lost sight of the goal. Money is an abstraction. It’s not the money that you really want. The relentless pursuit of money is driven by the perception of the happiness it might bring you. If you’re clear about what happiness means to you, then you’ve found a shortcut. 

Thankfully, today’s scribe, Marie Forleo, is here to get us clear. What are your true priorities? Where will you focus your attention moment to moment? What are you best at? What makes the time disappear? 

Marie helps us draw a straight line to happiness, to fishing half a day.

Drop me a line – without a hook – at [email protected] or sample my catch of the day on IG @jeffkrasno.

In love, include me,

• • •

5 Steps to Accomplish Any Dream
(Without Burning Out)

By Marie Forleo


Born-and-raised a Jersey girl with nothing more than passion, a laptop, and a dream, for as long as I can remember I have been insatiably curious about human potential. 

What makes people genuinely happy, successful, and fulfilled? 

Is it possible to dream big without running yourself into the ground? Can you be ambitious and stress-free?

Here’s the good news: you don’t have to choose between being a go-getter or a slacker. You can be driven, ambitious and committed to self-care.

I’ve learned from personal experience (and by interviewing some of the world’s most successful people), that you can accomplish any dream — without burning out.  As long as you cultivate the right habits.

Here are 5 crucial habits that will help you reach your biggest dreams, while also being present for your life.

1. Put Your “Big Rocks” First

I learned this years ago from the late Stephen Covey and it’s the single most powerful planning principle I’ve ever come across: “Schedule your priorities, do NOT prioritize your schedule.”

Here’s a classic story that illustrates what I mean… 

Once, there was a teacher who pulled out a big empty mason jar in his classroom. He filled that jar to the top with big rocks. He said, “Students, take a look at this jar. Is it full?”

“YES!” they said.

Next, he pulled out some smaller pebbles and dumped them into the mason jar, too, and those pebbles filled in around the rocks. Once again, he said, “Students, now take a look at this jar and tell me — is it full? 

The students looked and said, “Yes!”

Then he took a bag of sand and dumped that into the jar, too! The sand filled every nook and cranny around the pebbles and rocks. Once again he said, “Is it full?” They said yes. 

The teacher then dumped everything out and started again with a fresh, empty mason jar. But THIS time, he added the sand first. Turns out, when he did that — that sand took up so much room in the jar that neither the big rocks OR the pebbles could fit.
The teacher said, “Students, this is your life. The big rocks are the important things that make your life worth living. You have to know your big rocks and put them in first. The pebbles are the next group of things that matter to you — those things you have to do and must fit in. The sand is the meaningless minutiae of life, the stuff that will take up all the space if you put it in first.”

Pretty deep, right?

Action Step #1 → Identify your big rocks. 

Here are some of my big rocks: my partner Josh, my health and well being, my family, my team, my friends, my business, downtime, and adventure. Ask yourself, “What relationships and experiences are so important that I must prioritize and create time for them?”

Your answer to this question will help you prioritize your day and your energy. When you put what you love first, you’ll reap the reward of feeling incredibly fulfilled. This approach could also lead to new discoveries about HOW you want to serve, WHO you enjoy working with, and WHAT special qualities you have that will have a positive impact. 

2. Embrace Your “Multipassionate” Self

After 20+ years coaching more than 66,000 students through my online business program, B-School, here is what I know to be true: 

You must bring your whole self to the table if you want to thrive. ALL the things you care about can direct you down your unique path in life. 

For as long as I can remember, I’ve been insatiably curious about human potential. What makes people happy, successful, and fulfilled? Why do some people struggle during challenging circumstances while others thrive?

I was also passionate about a wide range of “unconnected” things: writing, hip-hop, psychology, entrepreneurship, creativity, spirituality, fitness, and philanthropy.

After several failed attempts in the corporate world (and a lot of angst trying to choose just one thing), I realized that my unusual combination of interests and skills was a strength, not a liability.

I eventually gave up the security of the 9-5, began bartending and waiting tables to keep a roof over my head while slowly building a business from the ground up. I later coined the term "Multipassionate Entrepreneur" because I didn’t (and never will) fit into a conventional box.

Action Step #2 → Give yourself permission.

If my circumstances sound familiar to you, I encourage you to embrace your multipassionate self. Own the fact that you’ve enjoyed a very rich and diverse path. Keep experimenting with different ideas, if that’s your jam. Stop being ashamed of who you are. Whether you’re just legitimately confused about what you want to do or you’re just genuinely interested in having multiple businesses or parts of your career, you’ve got to own it. 

Ask yourself, “What haven’t I given myself permission to do, experience, and be because I’m afraid of looking flakey or uncommitted?” Answer from a place of kind honesty, not judgment. Now, allow yourself to want what you want. Allow your dreams to reflect who YOU are. 

…And if you want my help to create a business and life you love, I hope you’ll join me for my free class, 5 Mistakes Even Smart Entrepreneurs Make and How to Avoid Them.

3. Upgrade Your Day 

Annie Dillard wisely said, “How we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives.” Which means that over time, changing your day can change your life.

Take a look at all the little autopilot moments in your day. These present powerful opportunities for change. For example, instead of mindlessly scrolling through Instagram you could take a walk in nature for just a few minutes. Or instead of ordering in and watching TV, you can try a new recipe with your significant other.

These are just a few ideas just to spark your imagination. What I want you to do is this…

Action Step #3 → Swap one habit.

Mentally go through your day and examine your habits and then make a list of just a few little choices that you can change. Ask yourself, “What can I change in my day to cherish life just a little bit more right now, or feel more creative and connected to my purpose?”

Take an inventory of your daily habits. What is one change you could make right now that would help you feel like you’re living your life instead of just ripping through it?

4. Make Time Off Non-Negotiable And Predictable 

The way to make sure that you take more time off is to make sure you take time off. 

I know, sounds easy. But so many people, especially entrepreneurs, encounter guilt and shame when they rest, take breaks, or say “no” to the outside world.  

You’ve got to give yourself permission to recharge your batteries. You plug in your cell phone every night, don’t you? What makes you think you can run on empty and show up as your best to the people you want to serve? You can’t. 

Make time off predictable and required. Predictable meaning it is set in advance and required meaning it is non-negotiable. I know that sounds strict for something that’s supposed to be relaxing, but that’s how you have to be when you might be addicted to work.

Time off is predictable and required for my entire team, including me. And honestly, it’s a joy. It’s something all of us look forward to and we always come back refreshed and better than ever.

Action Step #4 → Schedule time off.

It’s okay to start small. Consider taking a Friday and Monday off, giving yourself a long, restorative weekend. It’s often in restful places — when our body unwinds and we have space within us to explore — that we come up with new, inspiring ideas. New courses to make. New projects to create. Renewed energy that supports the big things in life you’re up to, now and in the future. 

5. Meditate Regularly. 

Last but not least, meditation is by far the most powerful tool I have to combat that constant sense of rushing. On the rare occasions I don’t meditate, I feel like my life is speeding past and I’m chasing my day — stressed out and irritable. 

A daily meditation or stillness practice (even just 5 minutes per day) will go a long way toward eliminating that “ripping through life” feeling. This is especially important if you have big dreams.

I know some people resist meditation because they don’t see the value in it, or they can’t sit still, or they never know if they’re ‘doing it right’ and get frustrated and quit.

Personally, I can relate to all of those challenges. Which is why I keep my practice super simple..

Action Step #5 → Put 5 minutes of meditation in your calendar

Even if you change nothing else and just make daily meditation a habit, this one thing will help you get out of that binary on/off loop so many entrepreneurs get caught in. And if you’re interested in building a business but unsure what direction to go, meditation can be a wonderful way to turn inward and find that inner wisdom.

And there you have it — five ways to help you continue to reach for those big dreams, whatever those are for you, without missing out on the sweetness of your life.

Stay on your game and keep going for your dreams because the world needs that special gift that only you have. It would be my honor to support you and cheer you on. 

P.S. For even more support,  sign up for my FREE training this week on February 24 or 25 to empower you to move ahead with confidence. I’m covering the 5 Mistakes Even Smart Entrepreneurs Make and How to Avoid Them.


• • •

 Marie Forleo has created a socially conscious digital empire that inspires millions across the globe. Named by Oprah as a thought leader for the next generation, she's the star of the award-winning show MarieTV, with over 66 million views, and host of The Marie Forleo Podcast, with over 22 million downloads. Marie has taught entrepreneurs, artists, and multipassionate go-getters from all walks of life how to dream big and back it up with daily action to create results. She runs the acclaimed business training program B-School.

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