Mareli ME Scott Of Authentic Entrepreneur: “Authenticity”

Authenticity. There is great joy to be found in being your authentic self. Don’t allow circumstances to force or shape you into someone you are not. It sometimes feels like it is so hard to avoid feeling down or depressed these days. Between the sad news coming from world headlines, the impact of the ongoing raging […]

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Authenticity. There is great joy to be found in being your authentic self. Don’t allow circumstances to force or shape you into someone you are not.

It sometimes feels like it is so hard to avoid feeling down or depressed these days. Between the sad news coming from world headlines, the impact of the ongoing raging pandemic, and the constant negative messages popping up on social and traditional media, it sometimes feels like the entire world is pulling you down. What do you do to feel happiness and joy during these troubled and turbulent times? In this interview series called “Finding Happiness and Joy During Turbulent Times” we are talking to experts, authors, and mental health professionals who share lessons from their research or experience about “How To Find Happiness and Joy During Troubled & Turbulent Times”.

As a part of this series, I had the pleasure of interviewing Mareli ME Scott.

Mareli is an Authenticity Authority, Award Winning International Transformational Speaker and Author, Former International Radio Host, Entrepreneur and Global Ambassador.

Thank you so much for joining us in this interview series! Before we dive into the main focus of our interview, our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you tell us a bit about your childhood backstory?

Thank you for the question. This is a part of me few people know about. A part I believe gave me a firm foundation and shaped my character. I am convinced that I had one of the best childhoods anyone could ask for. I grew up on a plot just outside of Potchefstroom, a town in the Northwest province of South Africa. We were blessed to grow up with many animals including blue vervet monkeys, a marmoset monkey, a warthog, sheep, cattle, pigs, chickens, horses, dwarf goats, geese, dogs, cats, birds and occasionally, falcons and owls which my mom rehabilitated. My parents farmed with maize, garlic, sheep and had a small dairy.

Most of my days were spent playing outside and some of my best memories include driving with my dad on the tractor, enjoying a hot cup of fresh milk straight from a cow’s udder, helping around the farm and my dad with DIY projects.

I have been blessed with parents who support me, don’t shy away from a challenge, and taught me many life skills. My dad often worked overseas for months at a time and during these times, my mom taught me to break stereotypes and to do anything you set your mind to. My mom can drive a tractor, farm, raise and rehabilitate animals, tile and she even once killed a ring-necked spitting cobra with a spade! Growing up in nature and with two hard-working parents with outstanding characters, taught me to keep my feet on the ground even when I reach for the stars.

What or who inspired you to pursue your career? We’d love to hear the story.

In the middle of my high school career, my family moved from the country to the city. From the first day at this new school, I suddenly struggled to fit in. I started to believe that I was a loser or weird because I was unable to make friends. These voices in my head became so loud that I grew extremely insecure, so much so that I even found it difficult to walk into a store on my own, not to even mention speaking in front of the class! Towards the end of high school, I realized that version of me wasn’t congruent with the authentic me or the person that I wanted to be. From there, I started to make conscious decisions to consistently push my comfort zone, to find out who I was and to make my dreams a reality. My story inspired my life mission: empowering others to uncover their authentic selves and discover their life purpose.

None of us can achieve success without some help along the way. Was there a particular person who you feel gave you the most help or encouragement to be who you are today? Can you share a story about that?

I had a few mentors but the person who’s had the biggest impact on my entrepreneurial journey over many years is JT Foxx (The World’s №1 Wealth and Business Coach). JT saw my potential before I saw it myself. Together with the JT Foxx Organization, he encouraged me, pushed me, and provided me with opportunities that built the platform for my success, introduced me into the world of entrepreneurship and taught me skills that I still use today.

Many years ago, while I was still trying to find myself and doubted my potential, he one day signed a tie for me with the words “The Next Female JT Foxx” and provided a testimonial for me which gave me the confidence I needed to pursue my dreams. Moral of the story: never doubt the impact even the smallest gesture could have on someone else’s life.

Can you share the funniest or most interesting mistake that occurred to you in the course of your career? What lesson or take away did you learn from that?

A few years ago, I was a guest speaker at a workshop and the technical person was unable to show my presentation (which I was dependent on) due to a missing cable. It felt like the rug was pulled out from under me and I didn’t know how I was going to cope without it. However, I realized that I had to stay calm and improvise. I opted for a flip chart and in stead of trying to remember my slides, I just spoke from the heart and “winged” it. That day I realized a few things:

  1. Even when you are well prepared, there will be factors out of your control. Take control of those you can.
  2. Always be prepared for the worst-case scenario.
  3. Be authentic. Share your situation with others. They might relate better with you and break down walls.
  4. Create and share your own content. This way, you don’t have to memorize a “speech” and improvising will be easier.
  5. Don’t be too hard on yourself. Only you can truly see your vision. Even when you think something is far from perfect, others most likely won’t realize.
  6. Commitment. Commit to the completion of your task and keep the promises you make.

What are some of the most interesting or exciting projects you are working on now? How do you think that might help people?

I’m currently working on a few online programs and courses which will help people uncover their authentic selves, find their life purpose and their best path to monetize it.

You are a successful leader. Which three character traits do you think were most instrumental to your success? Can you please share a story or example for each?

  1. Authenticity. In a world where many people are trying to be someone else or something they are not, authenticity is very rare quality and draws authentic people and opportunities towards you.
  2. Growth mindset. I am eager to learn and actively work to improve myself and my skills which give me a competitive advantage.
  3. Perseverance. One thing successful people have in common is not quitting. One thing unsuccessful people have in common is quitting. Don’t give up when you encounter obstacles, push through until you see the light.

For the benefit of our readers, can you briefly let us know why you are an authority about the topic of finding joy?

I believe joy stems from being your authentic self and living your purpose. I don’t only have extensive personal experience in this but hosted my own successful Authenticity Series on Radio W.O.R.K.S World Radio station for which I received an International Speaker Award in 2016. I’ve also published numerous transformational books, audiobooks and e-books covering this topic: Authentic ME launched at the London BAFTA and three other books in partnership with one of South Africa’s most popular lifestyle magazine, Finesse. Some of these topics include Be True to Yourself… It’s Your Right, Your Journey to Fulfillment Starts the Moment You Decide to Learn How to Live a Fulfilled Life, Life Changes… So Can You etc. I am also a regular guest speaker on podcasts and featured by various publications.

Ok, thank you for all of that. Let’s now shift to the main focus of our interview about finding joy. Even before the pandemic hit, the United States was ranked at #19 in the World Happiness Report. Can you share a few reasons why you think the ranking is so low, despite all of the privileges and opportunities that we have in the US?

I believe that too many people don’t really know themselves or their purpose in life. The result? They settle for less because they don’t believe they deserve more and if they do, they feel guilty about it. Why? They’ve been discouraged by society to dream and encouraged to live day by day. They are stuck in the wrong businesses, jobs and relationships that make them miserable but are too afraid to leave these comfort zones.

What are the main myths or misconceptions you’d like to dispel about finding joy and happiness? Can you please share some stories or examples?

  1. That joy and happiness are synonyms. Joy is an inner feeling that endures hardships. Happiness is a temporary, outward expression.
  2. That someone else or something external will make you happy or experience joy. Joy comes from the inside and making it someone else’s responsibility will drain that person emotionally.
  3. That joy is the result of fortunate circumstances. It is a choice and can be experience despite adversity.
  4. That you always need to happy. It’s unnatural and impossible to always be happy. It is important to experience all emotions that make us human beings, including expressing your feelings when you are not happy about something.

In a related, but slightly different question, what are the main mistakes you have seen people make when they try to find happiness? Can you please share some stories or examples?

  1. Chase money because they believe it will bring them happiness. Yes, some aspects of your life will improve but there are so many wealthy people who are miserable, have no real connections or time to enjoy their money.
  2. Wait for someone else to make them happy. For example, their dream husband or wife. The truth is that no one else can make you happy. Happiness is your responsibility. A happy relationship consists of two whole and happy people (note: not perfect), not two halves.
  3. Wait for their current circumstances to be more favorable before they are happy. Stop reacting to and being a victim of your circumstances. Instead, be proactive and learn to be happy despite of your circumstances. Take your power back.
  4. Wait until they reach a certain milestone to be happy. There will always be another milestone to reach or goal to achieve. Don’t put your happiness off until you reach it. Celebrate your progress and small victories along the way. This mindset will also help you achieve more, faster. Life is a journey, not a destination. Learn to enjoy the ride.

Fantastic. Here is the main question of our discussion. Can you please share with our readers your “5 things you need to live with more Joie De Vivre, more joy and happiness in life, particularly during turbulent times?” (Please share a story or an example for each.)

  1. Authenticity. There is great joy to be found in being your authentic self. Don’t allow circumstances to force or shape you into someone you are not.
  2. Purpose. It’s important to know what you are fighting for to pull you through difficult circumstances. Why do you do what you do? Who are you doing it for? Ask yourself these questions.
  3. Vision. There is no hope without vision. Your life will have no meaning if you don’t have something to strive for. It is important to focus on the light at the end of the tunnel while you are in the tunnel. What is your goal?
  4. Healthy habits. It will bring more balance and fulfilment into your life, give you security and help you overcome difficult circumstances in other areas of your life.
  5. Proactive attitude. Take control of your life and your circumstances. Life can either happen to you or for you. You choose.

What can concerned friends, colleagues, and life partners do to effectively help support someone they care about who is feeling down or depressed?

If this person is severely or chronically depressed, get them professional help. Otherwise, when they are just feeling down or going through something difficult:

  1. Encourage them to talk about their problems and frustrations and listen attentively. Don’t compare your own circumstances with theirs or make it about you.
  2. Ask what you can assist them with or take off their plate to make their load a little lighter. When someone is going through a difficult time, even mundane tasks like house chores can be too much to handle.
  3. Get them out of the house and do something fun that will help them get their mind of their situation for a while. Even though they might not feel like it, they will appreciate it in the end.
  4. Reward positive thoughts and behavior and do not encourage or worsen the negative ones. You want to help them out of their whole, not push them further down. Acknowledge their feelings but don’t encourage it. Be their voice of reason.
  5. Provide them with positive feedback, encourage them and help them to focus on the positive.
  6. Help them to make a list of everything they are grateful for and add something new to the list every day.
  7. Have compassion for their circumstances and try to understand it from their perspective
  8. Assist them in finding a solution.
  9. Encourage them to give back and do it with them. For example, volunteer to help the less fortunate, walk dogs from an animal shelter etc. These activities often lead to a change in perception.

Ok, we are nearly done. You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good for the greatest number of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger.

I would love to influence a movement of people who are loyal to their authentic selves and live their purpose. The world would be a much happier place.

We are very blessed that some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US, whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this, especially if we both tag them 🙂

Taylor Swift. Her music helped me through some of the toughest times of my life, including illness. Additionally, I love her music and the person she is. She is an inspiration and I feel like we would hit it off well.

How can our readers further follow your work online?

Through my website.

Thank you for these really excellent insights, and we greatly appreciate the time you spent with this. We wish you continued success and good health!

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