Marie Forleo introduction

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I'm Marie

You have gifts to share with the world and my job is to help you get them out there.

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Mentors, peers, and teachers all told her, “You’ll never make it as a dancer.”

After a decade of setbacks –– a spinal stroke, multiple assaults, and repeatedly being passed over because she “didn’t look the part” –– not only did today’s guest make it as a professional dancer, but she also paved the way for dancers of all abilities and disabilities to do the same.

Marisa Hamamoto is a performing artist, speaker, and founder of Infinite Flow, a nonprofit and professional dance company composed of dancers with and without disabilities. She’s on this MarieTV sharing how she’s using the universal language of dance to change how people think about disability.

She says, “Dance doesn’t discriminate. When you’re dancing with someone, you see beyond race, color, size, gender, ability, and disability.”

Marisa’s path to becoming a champion of diversity, equity, and inclusion was not straightforward or easy. How’d she defy the odds? She listened to her heart, even when it wasn’t crystal clear, and JUST. KEPT. GOING.

Our brains process images 60 times faster than words and when you see the beauty of inclusion you see its potential. @marisahamamoto Click To Tweet

Don’t miss these episode highlights:

2:50 — How to get back up after being bullied, assaulted, or told “you’ll never make it.”
7:22 — Marisa’s accident in dance class that changed everything.
10:48 — What Japanese toilets can teach you about hope.
18:50 — How Marisa became a professional ballroom dancer even when she was “too old” and terrified of human contact.
22:41 — A five-word mantra to help you bounce back from rock bottom.
32:30 — Two things you *need* to remember about inclusion.
38:53 — Lost your way? The perfect question to ask yourself.
44:12 — Behind-the-scenes of making Scoops of Inclusion, a film for kids, during a pandemic.
47:07 — The #1 piece of advice to live by so you can keep serving without burning out.

Have you ever experienced a major setback while going for your goals?

Has anyone, maybe even someone you admire, discouraged you from pursuing your passion?

Do you have an inkling there’s something more for you, but you’re not sure what it is?

If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, you’ll love this MarieTV. Let Marisa be your inspiration, your guide, and a shining example of how going for your dreams and sharing your gifts does change the world for the better.

Hit play to watch now or listen on The Marie Forleo Podcast.

View Transcript

Check out this episode on The Marie Forleo Podcast

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DIVE DEEPER: Get inspired by this teenage hip hop dancer who’s fighting for body positivity and discover your special gift (even if you don’t think you have one.)

Even though she had no idea where it would take her, Marisa Hamamoto was determined to pursue her passion for dance — the one place she felt free and like she truly belonged. Whenever she felt lost or faced a crushing obstacle, she told herself, “When in doubt, focus out.”

Now I’d love to hear from you. In the comments below, let me know what insight from today’s MarieTV you will put into action.

In your journal or in the comments below this post, I highly encourage you to answer these two questions from this episode:

  1. What most excites you and lights you up?
  2. How can you best be of service today?

As Marisa Hamamoto says (and I couldn’t agree more): “When you connect your passion to a purpose, magic happens.”

Time to create your magic.

With SO much love and appreciation,

XO 

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51 comments

  1. ilk

    Dear Marie
    I just LOVED absolutely LOVED your timing to ask the question: How Old were you? And my eyes and heart fused in one breath when you shared how often people think opportunities, chances, luck have passed them by. Because. They are too old. Too late. And its true. I was a younger 20 year old feeling too old …..This is what has blocked me so often from pressing on. Too late. Too old. I still do not understand where that “voice” or “belief” comes from. But you nailed it. You had me there at hold old. And to know there is common thread among us of doubt, really lifts the burden. And the weight to start. It is never too late. !!!!

    • Anne-Brit

      ILK, me too, all my life!
      At age 12, summer stays, playing the piano at my cousins’ house.. too late to start to take lessons, since I didn’t start at age 5 like them. Whaat, at 12?
      And the list went on!
      I’m not certain I’ve stopped either, on a deeper level, but I will focus, and do all I can to end it asap. About time, as I turned 55 a week ago. ♥️

    • ILK. Thank you for sharing. I like to say, never too late and never too early :). And I want to thank Marie for bringing up the age question during this interview. That’s a part of my story I almost forgot. That I had a late start, but it was the perfect start.

  2. I was 7 when Nadia Komanechi got 10 out of 10 in the Olympics and pointing to our black and white TV, in a rapture of bewilderment, I whispered: «that’s what I want to do». Lovingly, my father laughed and said: «you’re old for that, they start training at age 3». My father has been a constant source of self confidence and infinite support for me my entire life but that was a moment of loss. Later on, as a teenager I danced with such an expressive joy my friends told me: you don’t dance like that… And I remember freezing my body on the spot.
    I’m 47 now and I’ve found my own way to be a dancer. I fulfill my dream in my own humble way dancing in my kitchen, taking classes, dancing here and then with Misty Tripoli. Each single time I’m simply myself.
    Just as I can see in the final choreography. Just like that. We’re one in dance. And if we would all dance there would be no war.
    Thank you for this awesome conversation.

    • Heather- Team Forleo

      Keep dancing, Maria. Wherever and whenever it feels right in your heart. xo

    • Isabelle

      “If we would all dance there would be no war”. Well that’s a tweetable!

  3. Helen

    WOW. I am mind-blown by this whole story. Such a vulnerable share – halfway through i wanted to reach in and hug her; by the end i’m awed by what she’s achieved – all of it, from recovery to her business and mission, and the dance! – and i’m standing back applauding her! What a catalyst for positive change you are Marisa. Thank you for your courage in sharing all of this. I am so impressed and inspired!! ? ?

    Marie and Team Forleo, i adore – and still miss a little bit – the styley studio interviews, and yet this new batch of videos-from-home has felt so profound and impactful. Each week i think: this is the best yet… no wait! THIS is THE BEST YET too..! Sincere thanks for continuing to bring such deep & heartfelt interviews with incredible people to us, all around the world… It really is so appreciated ☺️✨? ?

    • Heather- Team Forleo

      Thank you for your kind words, Helen. We’re so glad you’ve been enjoying these conversations lately. We’re always blown away by our guests and what they share, there’s just been something about the tenderness and messages we’ve been hearing lately at this time in all our lives. We appreciate YOU for taking the time to watch and be a part of the magic.

    • Thank you Helen! It’s been a long road, and only recently have I been open to share about my journey.

  4. Thank you for sharing your story with us. I am sorry for what happened to you. May God bless you!

  5. Tara

    That was awesome! I love power stories! Thx!!!

  6. I wept at the end, especially watching the dancing. Thank you Marisa and Marie. Tears of Yes. To imagine the impossible is possible. Healing. Return. Dance. We approach our farm harvest season, so many changes. I will dance my way through, get out my 1983 Flashdance. Embrace new Boomer dreams. Inclusion. Will help me face trouble…keep going. Everything Is Figureoutable. Loved this interview.

    • Heather- Team Forleo

      “Tears of Yes” is a beautiful sentiment, Karen, and captures this conversation for sure. Here’s wishing you plentiful harvests on your farm and in your heart.

  7. Stacy

    OMG!! This was so inspiring…the end when we get to see them dance is my favorite part and really sinks into my soul and heart. Thank you so much for sharing.

  8. Betsy

    Wow! This blew me away. Such an inspiring story of resilience, inclusion, passion and purpose. I am moved beyond belief. Nothing could stop this girl!!!

  9. ‼️WOW‼️
    Fantastic Story…..
    Love … “When In Doubt FOCUS OUT!”

    So TRUE…. the ONLY PART that’s “About Our “Self-Focus”..” is Applying our Natural Born Talents & Strengths to POSITIVELY IMPACT our World…. Tapping into what I call the “GREATNESS of Your Uniqueness”….

    Once again … THANK YOU‼️ For bringing these stories to Light….Always UPLIFTING?❤️

    Stay Strong & Share Your Strength‼️
    SutterGirl

    • Heather- Team Forleo

      We’re so glad you enjoyed it, SutterGirl. Thanks for being here and sharing your insights.

  10. WOW, Marisa’s story is so moving and she finally created the place she belongs to.
    This is also my belief: if you can’t find what you need, create it.
    Thank you for this, Marie
    xoxo

  11. Sandy Burris

    Marisa, what you are doing here really speaks to me. Please join my FB group ‘Channel Islands Dancers’, which exists solely to support dancers and musicians. Surely you and I will connect around dance in deeper ways!

  12. OH!!! The dance at the end!!! How moving. Thank you for the interview.

  13. Betsy

    Your interview “Dance Doesn’t Discriminate” was tender and honest. There is a hidden dancer in all of us. I took dance lessons when I was young, but now feel uncomfortable dancing in public. Thank you for this and all your amazing interviews Marie!

    • Heather- Team Forleo

      You’re so right Betsy, there IS a dancer in all of us. We hope you find a place and time where you feel comfortable and free to just let it come to you.

  14. Carl Blackburn

    Dear Marie,
    Thank you for this wonderful interview. I’m 81 years old, my wife of 58 years has Alzheimer’s and doesn’t even know me. Several months ago, a friend who had lost her husband and who I went to high school with and who I had remained in contact with, the class of 1957, contacted me about asking my wife if she would let me go to a dance with her. When I told my friend about my situation, we decided we would meet and go to that dance. We both did dance again which I guess proves you are never too old to enjoy a dance with someone you care about and we plan on dancing into our future.
    Thank you again for that beautiful interview…everything is figureoutable.
    All the best,
    Carl

    • Heather- Team Forleo

      Carl, your words touched our hearts. We’re so sorry to hear about your wife and the dreaded disease that she, and you are living with. What a gift your dancing with your friend is for both of you. Here’s to the two of you enjoying those dances way into the future. Sending you lots of love.

    • Wow Carl, thank you for sharing so openly. And yes, I so agree – dance is for everyone, no matter what age, race, gender, ability, or disability. Sending you a lot of positive vibes.

  15. Michael Lewis Lee

    You cannot change the past but you can influence the present and future. You can control your involvement in whatever happens in the future. Everything you can do can be influenced or seen by you is controlled by you. Your attitude is your choice.

  16. Franklin Liao

    Thank you Marisa for sharing your inspiring and vulnerable story! I love how you compared taking action with letting go. Filling your cup first and then serving others.

  17. It seems that this video came at the perfect time. Marisa’s story is inspirational and close to my heart. I had a late start in the professional dance world as well and was told that I didn’t have the body and skills. Still I went on to teach dance in the public schools were I had the chance to witness how dance brings students of all backgrounds together. After sickness and a worn out body, I thought it was the end of my career in dance; which was heartbreaking for me. After years of working with fitness, movement and teaching and thinking I was too old to dance, I decided to take the leap and do my Masters in Dance/Movement Therapy. I slowly gained back my confidence and proved to myself I can still dance and do whatever my heart desires. I hope I can do something similar in the near future. Thank you for this interview!

  18. Thank you so much for this interview. I want to contact Marisa and find out how I can contribute–I am a teacher and a PhD student studying social justice education and inclusion. But before my teaching and PhD work, I was (and still am) a dancer. I also had a traumatic injury that rendered me unable to walk for more than a year. Needless to say, this interview came at the right time and I would like to make a difference, so hopefully we can join forces in some way and create the change we wish to see in the world.

  19. “Let’s go back to being human beings.” – Hell yes to that!!!

    I have to say this was a much-needed reminder of something that took me years to realise: “You will never figure out your life but you can spend your life figuring yourself out.”

    In terms of your questions, I am lit up when I teach creatives to harness their innate powers – melding my Masters in Neuroscience and Cognitive Therapy qualification with self-help tools and my personal experience. Because if we knew how to control our power, follow that intuition, & take lasting action without losing ourselves — no one will need to feel helpless every again.

  20. WWOW! Thanks so much Marie and Marisa! I kept saying Yes, Yes, keep dancing. I am an Asian woman like Marisa and experienced many negative comments. When I turned 65 I hired a dance teacher to teach and dance with me at my birthday party. It was just a simple Cha Cha Cha dance. I love latin dance. All my (retired) friends just stunned. I got many of them to dance with the dance teacher that I hired. I kept dancing at every birthday party that I have which became annually party that everyone look forward to. My latest one, last month, September, I turned 75 and because of the Pandemic. We had virtual party and dance on Zoom! So fun.!
    I love your show and follow as many as I can. You are such an inspiration and so beautiful. I just have this idea that I can help women who think they are too old to become alive and thrive again. Thank you and god bless!

    • Heather- Team Forleo

      Sinee, LOOK at you just dancing your way through life. What an amazing example you are for ALL of us. We’re never too old to thrive- and you’re an example of that sentiment. Sending you loads of Team Forleo love.

  21. This talk was wonderful. I love her message “when in doubt, look out”. BUT that video at the end, MOVED ME TO TEARS! So beautiful!

    • Heather- Team Forleo

      You certainly weren’t alone in your reaction, Jennifer. Thank you so much for watching.

  22. Pamela Joy

    Marie, that was amazing, as usual! You always have the best guests who are doing the best things for the world, and you are such a great cheerleader for everyone. I love your interview style, and it’s clear that you want everyone to succeed.
    Loved this episode, love all the episodes…
    Thank you,
    Pamela Joy

  23. Victoria Grounds

    This is the best thing you have ever done, Marie.

    May Marisa’s work spread to every school on the planet, it will bring about greater changes to attitudes than any number of lectures, speeches, laws.

  24. Hi Marisa and Marie,
    Thanks so much for this episode (lots of tears in my eyes).
    I’ve also experienced the environment of ‘you are different from us’ over and over again. But Marisa Figured it out. It’s such an inspiration for me, and allowed me to see the vision of what’s possible! Thanks so much!

    Love to see you both in Japan, you are the inspiration for Japanese women like me.
    I will invite you to Japan!! ?

    • Heather- Team Forleo

      Thank you for your kind and generous words, Izumi. We’re so glad that you’re in our community.

  25. Shal Tharumalingam

    Thank you Marie for that delightful and inspirational interview with Marisa Hamamoto. I am very grateful to Marisa for bringing forth her truth so courageously. It is fantastic what she is doing via Infinite Flow and also Scoops of Inclusion. Wishing Marisa every success and thank you Marie for the amazing work that you are doing too!

  26. Great interview with Marisa ?
    Dancing to music I like sends me into a trance ?
    I’ll dance till my tenure in Planet Earth is over.
    ‘When in doubt, focus out’.
    ‘Fill you inner being with love, till it overflows’.
    Thanks Marie & Marissa,

    Sadé Tolani

  27. Carol

    Thank you so much for another super inspiring story. “When your passion and purpose connect, that’s when the magic happens!” Absolutely ?
    It was also encouraging to hear that she hit rock bottom many time on the way to find her pathway.

    At 70 years old ( Oh Lord I really don’t relate to that age number, it’s truly foreign to me!), I’ve been at the bottom of the rabbit hole more times than I care to remember, but somehow always managed to claw my way out through sheer determination, and a never say die attitude ( raw bleeding knuckles notwithstanding!)
    Bless you Marie and keep inspiring us. Thank you ❤️

    • Heather- Team Forleo

      Carol, we love you shared your fabulous self here with us. You and your raw knuckles are a living example of the figureoutable attitude. Thank YOU for shining your light here with us. xo

  28. Creece Rubia

    Beautiful.
    All I can do is nod in agreement.
    Life is a real challenge.
    “Passion and purpose” – our shield and armor each time we hit “rock bottom”.
    When we are rock bottom, there is no way but up.

    • Heather- Team Forleo

      You’ve got that right, Creece! What a lovely insight.

  29. What a moving story. Hat’s off for everything you have been through and surmounted, and the gifts you bring to the world. Thank you!

  30. Gerry Goodman

    Wow. Just wow. I was already full after the interview. But then to follow it up with that dance clip… Wow.

    • Heather- Team Forleo

      We feel that, Gerry. It is a wow. Thanks for watching it.

  31. Thank you for sharing this Marie. And Marisa, you are an inspiring woman with great heart and soul. Everyone who is capable of can do something similar in the near future.

  32. Oh, my goodness!!! I don’t know how you do it, Marie, but you never fail to introduce us to someone we NEED in our lives! Thank you for all you do and I hope everyone is inspired to go out and make things happen! Bless Marisa and her entire dance company. Contribute to their continued success any way you can.

    • Heather- Team Forleo

      We’re so glad that you feel the same way we do about Marisa, Linda. She’s remarkable and so is her dance company. Thank you for your kind words.

  33. Nisha

    So real, so persistent, so beautiful and inspiring.

    No ‘series of unfortunate events’ keeps you down.

    “When in doubt, look out” + “Everything is figureoutable”

    Bravo!

    Love
    Nisha

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