Murielle is the founder and one of the Lead Trainers of Live It Unlimited. She is the most dynamic and charismatic social entrepreneur you are ever likely to meet! Her motivational style exudes passion and inspires people and businesses to unleash their potential.
As their website states, “Live It Unlimited is a company owned by women for women. Our mission is to build a world-wide community of confident, motivated, successful women who feel comfortable within themselves to achieve what they want and make the planet a better place to live in.”
Quite a statement and 100% in tune with the mission statement of the3rdi magazine so we are delighted that Maurielle is sharing her amazing story with us!
Where to start when someone asks you to tell them ‘your story‘? How do you condense 36 years into a few paragraphs especially when you’re someone who loves accomplishing?
I was born in France and due to my father’s work we travelled extensively as a family until finally settling in the UK when I was in my teens. I think bouncing from country to country as a child was massively formational – instilling within me an insatiable appetite for learning and discovery as well as a passionate interest in people. Indeed, the desire to push boundaries and explore new dimensions has greatly shaped my career. That being said, I initially decided to go for the safe option – I would do what Dad did. I began studying Petroleum Engineering and Geophysics and was chosen to join a pilot programme aimed at encouraging female engineers to join the oil & gas industry.
My first assignment was to oversee an aspect of a well-testing division in the Syrian oil fields. There I was, 19 years old, working in the middle of the desert in 40c+ temperatures, wearing oversized overalls and giant steel toe capped boots, dodging scorpions and working my back side off to win the respect of the team of local men I was managing.
It’s at challenging times like these, when you find yourself completely outside of your comfort zone, that you can truly tap into your resources and inner power. It’s amazing what we can do when we set our minds to it and how we can succeed even in the most difficult of times. Whilst I learnt a lot during my stint in Syria, most significantly I realised that I did not want to be a Petroleum Engineer. What had fascinated me the most during the whole experience was people – their behaviours, attitudes and how they responded to the challenges they faced.
On that basis I quit oil rigging and went on to study Psychology after which I undertook a range of research and consultancy roles for major government departments including HM Prison Service and educational establishments such as the University of Portsmouth. As time went on I found myself becoming increasingly frustrated. I’d work with people experiencing drugs and alcohol problems or severe mental health issues but most of them were not in a position in their life to make any significant change. For me life was for living and it pained me that so many people settled for just existing!
The misery of even the most outwardly successful people I knew was evident. It’s all good and well chasing the dream of the big house, the fast car, the flash holidays and designer clothes but that means nothing unless people feel satisfied on some other, deeper level. I decided then that whilst people generally focused on striving to acquire more materialistic things, what they were actually searching for were experiences… ways to experience themselves at their best.
That’s when I decided to set up a website that matched individuals to life changing experiences. Following the motto of Dare to Dream… the website gave people access to a wealth of exciting adventure travel, extreme sports and international voluntary work opportunities. To move the business forward I needed sizeable investment and a number of parties were just about to sign on the dotted line when Boo.com (an online fashion retailer) went bust. For those of you that remember, the fall of Boo.com started a rapid decline in internet stocks and investment dried up for new technology businesses.
I had dared to dream and the bubble had burst! But that was OK because I believe that nothing is ever wasted. We learn from everything that we experience and it is only our ego mind that labels anything as good or bad. In the infinite wisdom of the universe there is no such thing as good or bad… just causal links in a long chain of which we are yet to fully become aware of the ultimate goal.
I put my entrepreneurial hat to one side and focused on a new challenge as Chief Exec. of a youth homelessness charity on the verge of bankruptcy. Whilst at that time I had little experience at this senior level of management, I firmly grasped the opportunity. Despite the lack of funding, staffing problems, young people taking overdoses, organisational buildings being vandalised, and everyone I knew thinking I had finally lost my marbles… I knew in the depth of my soul that I could make a difference. Everyone can. By developing a great team and fostering an atmosphere of innovation, slowly but surely over the two years, the organisation started to reverse its fortunes.
Which gave me time to start playing again. This time inspiration came from afar. Whilst staying in an ecolodge in the Brazilian Amazon rainforest, swinging in a hammock, refreshing myself with several Caipirinhas (very strong local cocktails), I got chatting to one of the guides. He came from Bolivia and told me of all the natural wonders of his home country… and how after years of political instability tourism was only just really starting to take off. I was mesmerised… could there be an opportunity to create an ecolodge in the depths of the Bolivian rainforest? We chatted, we allowed ourselves to imagine, I gave him my email address and thought nothing more of it. When I returned to the UK a couple of weeks later I discovered several emails waiting for me: “Dear Miss Muurielley, my wife and I hitchhiked back to Bolivia to start looking for land for you…” Incidentally, his wife was 8 months pregnant at the time!
Can you even begin to imagine how far my jaw dropped? What would you have done in a similar situation? I chatted to him, sent him money for expenses and thought if I demanded stringent enough criteria for the land he would never be able to find what I wanted. He’d make a little money, I’d practice my Spanish and that would be the end of the story. Dozens of emails came through with photos of different plots of land he’d found… until finally one day I opened a .jpg that took my breath away and covered me in goose bumps. There on the screen was the land that I had imagined… an enchanting river, interrupted by broad waterfalls, snaked along the bank of 125 hectares of pristine jungle – bamboo trees and other flora reached high into the sky as if to tickle the resplendent macaws and parrots flying above.
Within 4 weeks, I had prepared a business plan, remortgaged my home and flown out and bought the land. There were so many technical issues that we had to quickly become experts in: solar power, composting toilets, hydroelectric turbines, everything that we take for granted in day to day Western life had to be reproduced in the jungle in the most ecological way. Nevertheless, over the following 12 months the ecolodge was built, a mean feat in the middle of the jungle where the only access to the land is by canoe over the river. Running the lodge from the UK was an even bigger logistical nightmare and the whole project ended up costing me a lot of money. I relish every second of that experience though… the people I met, what I learnt, the things I saw… invaluable experiences that have shaped who I am today. As Mastercard would say… priceless!
Meanwhile, my work at the charity was really starting to reap its rewards – not only did we stabilise the ship but we began to rapidly expand the number and breadth of our services. I dabbled in a few other businesses but it was during that time that I was introduced to NLP (neuro linguistic programming). I was instantly hooked and very quickly achieved all my qualifications including Certified Trainer of NLP and Hypnosis to name but a couple. On the back of that we started running workshops to empower our young clients to take back control of their lives. The results were outstanding leading to us achieving a number of major accolades including the Andy Ludlow Awards, Investors in People, Champions of Learning, National Training Awards and UK Charity Awards. I was incredibly proud of the team and all our achievements but I was starting to get itchy feet. Finally, our merger with another charity provided me with the opportunity to start something new.
When I looked back at all the businesses I had been involved in, there was always a common theme – enabling people to unleash their potential and live life. Live It Ventures was set up in 2006 – a dynamic lifestyle brand dedicated to empowering people to be the best that they could be.
The first business, Live It Unlimited (www.liveit.com), focused on providing women with inspirational training, coaching, therapy and public speaking. Women have so much to offer yet so many stop themselves because of their low self-esteem and limiting self-belief. Our services over the past 5 years have supported thousands of women to be who they want to be and achieve the things they want in life. From Chief Executives to long-term unemployed women, everyone has the potential to live the life they want.
From this foundation, Live It Training (www.liveittraining.co.uk) was developed to unleash the drive, passion and potential within organisations. We have found that our bespoke training and coaching programmes have been critical in improving the performance of our Clients. In a highly competitive environment, the difference that makes the difference between a high performing business and an average one is its people.
PEOPLE make or break businesses yet I despair at how few companies view their staff as their primary asset and invest in them accordingly. More recently, last year, I set up Live It Publishing (www.liveitpublishing.com) – a new way for people to unleash their passion and creativity. Having written a book myself, The Essential NLP Practitioner’s Handbook: How to Succeed as an NLP Therapist & Coach, I did not want to get bogged down with the hassle of literary agents or being restricted by the systems/views of mainstream publishers. So I decided to set up my own publishing house – one that would make it fast, easy and affordable for people to make their dreams come true and have their works published.
In line with the Live It ethos, our focus is on motivational and inspirational books that help people improve, develop and heal themselves. In 2009, we worked with five authors and have another 12 in the pipeline for 2010! I’m loving this new business. I never realised how much satisfaction I could derive from enabling people to bring their creativity to life though books… it has brought personal fulfilment to a new level for me.
By now you have probably realised that I passionately love what I do. I believe that even the smallest of changes can lead to massive transformations! By enabling people to create the necessary changes within themselves, anyone can lead a more productive, healthy and fulfilled life. And when people operate at this higher level of self belief and self efficacy, they create a beneficial effect within their families, social networks and communities! Everyone can make a difference and that starts by freeing the individual to be the best that they can be! I am truly humbled and privileged to be able to offer people the catalyst they need to fulfil themselves.
What lies ahead for me? Well I think my biggest challenge to date is just round the corner… I am thrilled to be expecting my first child at the end of July 2010. Wish me luck!