Marie Wright

marie wright

What a privilege to speak with Marie, an Executive, Career and Performance Coach at Bold Bean Coaching who helped and inspired us during lockdown to connect with our values, find our strengths and understand through the DISC Personality Test how we are different and what our needs are. A truly warm, engaging and kind person Marie found the courage to start her own business to balance her life as a full time Mum. Since then, over the next 6 years she has learned and applied this to her own life, finding a paradigm shift in the way she lives her life – now from a centre of authenticity, with integrity to her values. She works with executives and teams to make a lasting difference to their lives. She has helped shape NewLeaf and we will always remember and be grateful for that.


What is the book (or books) you’ve given most as a gift, and why? Or what are one to three books that have greatly influenced your life?

I’m a total bookworm, so it was really hard to choose.

Dare to Lead by Brené Brown. She’s an extraordinary person and writes in a way that is easy to understand. This book inspired me to really live into one of my core values, which is courage.

(Please could I change the above book to “Daring Greatly” by Brené Brown?!

Untamed by Glennon Doyle. This book was life changing for me and I often tell myself a quote from the book, which is, “I can do hard things”. This helps me to be brave when I want to be true to myself, but requires lots of courage.

Self Compassion by Kristin Neff. Self compassion is the key to everything. There are three elements of self compassion: self-kindness, common humanity and mindfulness. We tend to be self-critical as humans, but we fly if we remove those barriers.


What purchase of £100 or less has most positively impacted your life in the last six months (or in recent memory)? (Brand and model, where you found it?)

For me, the best way to spend money is on shared experiences, not material things. This summer a great university friend turned 50 and we went coasteering off the coast of Wales with some of his friends that I’ve never met before. It cost 50 pounds. It was a hot sunny blue sky day, and it was such a thrill jumping off the rocks into the cool sea water below and sharing that joy with wonderful people. It was an experience I will never forget and a beautiful memory to look back on.  


How has a failure, or apparent failure, set you up for later success? Do you have a “favourite failure” of yours? 

I don’t think I have a specific “favourite failure” to refer to, however, being a ‘reformed perfectionist’, I now embrace failure and view it not as something to be ashamed of, but rather something that is inevitable and part of life. We all fail every day, and accepting and acknowledging our failures, and really learning from them is what is important. Failure leads to creativity and innovation, as well as closer connection with others. I am now definitely more curious and authentic because of that mindset shift, and this has enabled me to learn and grow more as a human being. 


4.If you could have a gigantic billboard anywhere with anything on it —metaphorically speaking, getting a message out to millions or billions — what would it say and why? It could be a few words or a paragraph. (If helpful, it can be someone else’s quote: Are there any quotes you think of often or live your life by?) 

“Don’t ask yourself what the world needs. Ask yourself what makes you come alive and then go and do that. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.”

(Howard Thurman)


5.What is one of the best or most worthwhile investments you’ve ever made? (Could be an investment of money, time, energy, etc.)

Hiring my first business coach a year into setting up my coaching business. My income wasn’t very high, but I took a risk and made the investment into a 12-week intensive coaching program. One of the questions she asked me was how much did I want to earn over the next 12 months. I had to write down a realistic figure, a stretch figure and a “wildest dreams” figure. One year later, I was earning my “wildest dreams” figure. It was a huge return on my investment.


6.What is an unusual habit or an absurd thing that you love? 

I start the day with a kitchen disco every morning, dancing and singing with coloured disco lights while I make my breakfast. I’m one of those annoying people who wakes up full of energy and life and can’t wait to start the day. I make my kids dance with me and despite their teenage reluctance and eye rolling, they nevertheless humour me and spin me round the kitchen. I think they secretly love it, although they would never admit it.


7.In the last five years, what new belief, behaviour, or habit has most improved your life?

I’ve changed so much in the last six years since training as an executive coach. I’ve definitely improved my self-awareness, and I now have the tools and the understanding to deal with life’s ups and downs in a much more carefree and lighthearted way. I’m less of a people pleaser which is much more healthy and I’ve eliminated any negative thinking that held me back. 

One of my core values is courage and I’ve definitely been brave in the decisions that I’ve made. Life has thrown out many challenges in the last few years, but I am happier than I have ever been at any time in my life because I am completely true to myself and that is incredibly liberating. 

I think the best way of improving your life is to know what your core values are and to be those values every day. Then, no matter what challenges you face, you will feel really happy deep inside.


What advice would you give to a smart, driven student about to enter the “real world”? What advice should they ignore?” 

Understand and know what your core, innate strengths are, and align your career choices to those. When you do that, you will be both happy and successful and will  thrive.

The people I admire most are fulfilling their life’s purpose. They have thought about what is important to them and what they are naturally good at, and have created a career path that aligns with that. This takes courage and determination. It’s not about what you ‘should’ do, or chasing money. It’s about what you’re naturally good at and what you’re passionate about and being creative with aligning that with a career you love.

Give yourself permission to follow your own path and be true to who you are. Too many people, particularly in their 40s and 50s are desperately unhappy with their life and with their work. But the expectations of society, their family, friends and their own expectations creates pressure and then life is about peddling to keep up. Keeping up appearances, keeping up the prestige, keeping up the lifestyle. It’s a silent suffering. Figure out what your definition of success is, not what you think society’s definition of success is. Don’t compare yourself to others. We all do it as human beings, but it sucks the joy out of life.


What frustrates you the most about your industry and the way companies are run in it? 

There isn’t much that frustrates me to be completely honest as I try not to worry about things that aren’t in my control. 

However, I would prefer to coach all my clients face to face rather than via Zoom. It is obviously efficient and cost effective, but I like to be around other people in real life and feel their energy, which is a bit tricky via a screen!


11.In the last five years, what have you become better at saying no to (distractions, invitations, etc.)? What new realisations and/or approaches helped? Any other tips?

I’m just better at saying no full stop. I always used to say yes to make everyone else happy, but it was to the detriment of myself. Now I have put boundaries in place. I still want to help everyone I can, but I now put on my oxygen mask first, and this prevents burnout.

I read the books, “The Subtle Art of Not Giving a Fuck” by Mark Manson, and “The Life-Changing Magic of Not Giving a Fuck” by Sarah Knight which were game changers. 

I am now very clear what it is I do “give a fuck about”, and anything outside of that is a firm but kindly no. This took me a while to get to grips with, but I am now totally comfortable with saying no. It is liberating!


12.What does a balanced life look like to you? Has a work or a project you have been focused on caused you to neglect other areas of your life?

I work really hard at creating and maintaining a balanced life, and for me a balanced life is the definition of a successful life.

I have learnt that we need to re-charge physically, emotionally, spiritually and mentally, so factoring time in each day to do so creates balance.

For me, this means exercising every day. Whether it’s swimming, which brings me real joy and helps me be mindful and cope with difficulties, or doing yoga or walking in nature, which nourishes my soul. 

Spending quality time with my children, which means being present, engaged and available. Being curious and really seeing and hearing them. 

My friends are also so important to me, so making time to see them face to face, whether it is to go for a walk and talk, or a chat over a glass of wine.

Being passionate about your work and earning enough money, but knowing what is enough. Not simply accumulating more and more and working all the time, and then not appreciating and enjoying life.

I also have a rule that every night, for one hour, I relax with “me-time“ whether that’s reading, having a long hot bath or watching Netflix. This helps me get a good night’s sleep.

I used to burn out a lot. I have a tendency to pack too much into every day, and whilst I still do this I am getting a bit better at creating downtime. 


13.When you feel overwhelmed or unfocused, or have lost your focus temporarily, what do you do? (If helpful: What questions do you ask yourself?)

I journal. I find that I figure stuff out when writing things down. I ask myself:

  • How am I feeling?
  • What are the challenges I am facing?
  • What do I need?
  • What are my options?

I will also go for a swim or a walk, talk to a friend or dance around my kitchen. That seems to sort everything out!


14.What does leadership mean to you? 

Good leadership is all about who you are being. Aligning with your values and being trustworthy. Setting and adhering to boundaries, doing what you say you will do, being accountable and owning your mistakes, keeping confidences, doing what is right rather than what is easy, being non-judgemental, being firm yet fair and being clear and decisive. It requires being present with others; allowing them to feel seen, heard, understood, valued and validated. 


15.Which people have most inspired you in your life and why?

I try to find something inspirational about everyone I meet. Every human being has a story and is inspirational in some way. It just takes a bit of curiosity to find out what it is. 


16.What do the words principles and values mean to you?

They mean a lot to me. I live my life by my core values of kindness, courage and curiosity, with a dash of freedom, playfulness and authenticity thrown in for good measure. 


17.If you had a forum to speak to 50 leaders, what question would you pose to them, to get them thinking about and being better leaders?

What are your 3 core values and how do you live those values as a leader every day? How are you behaving and who are you being?


18.What one thing could you do that you aren’t doing now, that if you did on a regular basis, would make a tremendous positive difference in your personal life?  What one thing in your business or professional life would bring similar results?

That is a really good question but a hard one to answer. I genuinely think that whenever I realise that there is something I could be doing that would make a difference, then I do it – or try to at least (not always successfully mind you, but I will always do my best). Or, I actively make peace with my shortcomings and weaknesses and choose to accept them as part of who I am. 


19.Have you ever engaged with self-help, mentoring or coaching? If so, how?

Yes! As a coach I am a big advocate. I read lots of “self-help” books and I fully believe in coaching, obviously!  I have had a business coach, a relationship coach and a parenting coach because I want to be the best coach, partner and parent I can possibly be. Coaching enables us to be the best version of ourselves as possible – and this takes a lot of work, effort and support, but like anything in life that we work hard at, it’s worth it.

Find out more about Marie at Boldbean Coaching.

Topic: 50 in 50