About Marcilie Smith Boyle
I understand authentic success personally. After some serious reflection (and coaching!), I let go of “I should be using my Harvard MBA” and grabbed onto “I want to be using my strengths to help busy working parents find more peace, purpose and joy in work and life.” In 2007, I left my sixteen-year consulting and Clorox Company marketing career and began the journey to become a life and leadership coach.
My coaching certification is from The Coaches Training Institute, the largest and one of the most renowned coaching institutes in the world. As a curious student of neuropsychology, I couldn’t resist additional coaching training with David Rock’s NeuroLeadership Group. I am also a Certified Positive Discipline Parenting Educator and blown away by the similarities between coaching, leadership, and parenting models. My greatest daily leadership opportunity is as the Mother of three wonderful school-aged children.
I love working with high-achieving, busy parents and professionals who want to do it all and all really well, but are experiencing exhaustion and stress as unwelcome side effects, or are simply seeking more clarity, purpose or productivity.
My coaching has made a meaningful difference for a public tech company CFO, a part-time photo editor, a White House Senior Advisor, a leading European bank manager, full-time Moms, and many others seeking growth as a person, professional, or parent. After working with me, my clients report a marked increase in clarity (about what they want,) direction (where to go,) and movement (results!)
With a style that is compassionate yet direct, I help clients feel heard and stretched, while my business experience, discipline, and focus on results ensure that clients get a return on their coaching investment. I bring my wealth of experience and passion for helping people find and achieve authentic success to every coaching engagement.
What do you want for yourself?
Are you ready to define success on your own terms?
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The Story of How I Became a Coach
I like to think of my story as a “perfect storm.” If any one of these events had not happened, I’m not sure I’d be coaching now. Here’s my story. I’ll start with a bit of background. . .
Growing up, what mattered most was being smart and driven. Grades, status, awards and money, were the only evidence I knew of “success.” Healthy? It would be nice, but that’s not success. Happy? Doesn’t happiness come along with wealth and status, automatically? OK, I’m sure my parents would beg to differ on these points, but this was the perception I had. And it stayed with me for a very long time.
My definition of “success,” while narrow, did help me excel in high school and college. It also got me an excellent management consulting job out of college and into Harvard Business School, as well a wonderful marketing job at The Clorox Company, where I worked, quite happily (and “successfully”) for 10+ years.
At Clorox, results were my trademark. I was not afraid to work hard. I pushed hard, too. Sometimes too hard. My efforts were rewarded with speedy promotions and bonuses and raises. I felt very successful.
Then about three years after my second baby was born, I found my mind wandering more frequently to my kids. I remember sitting in meetings and doodling on my notepad: “what am I doing here?” “what is the point?” “what is my purpose?” I was burned out, uninspired, and . . . pregnant again.
I always saw myself as a “professional,” so when my 3rd maternity leave ended, my mixed feelings about going back to work confused me. Clorox was a fantastic company to work for and treated me so well; why wouldn’t I want to return? My wonderful boss and mentor, Derek Gordon, encouraged me to listen to my gut. My very loud brain said, “You should work! You are a professional. You have a Harvard MBA so don’t waste it. You should be an example to women and “lean in!” My gut said, “take a break from work and lean in to your family.” Gut won. I left Clorox, fully intending to return after a couple years.
Three years later, I was feeling the itch to work again. I picked up the phone to call Clorox and see what opportunities they had for me. But for some reason, I couldn’t dial the number. Something – an uneasiness, a hesitation — stopped me. I put the phone down and instead, enrolled in a class for “Moms in Transition” at the Bay Area Career Center.
OK, here’s where the perfect storm starts. (Sorry, that took longer than I expected.) A perfect storm, as you probably already know, happens when many separate events or conditions all coincidentally occur at the same time making the storm stronger.
The elements of my perfect storm were these:
- Taking the “Moms In Transition” class with Linda Lesem, a certified career counselor, life coach, and therapist. For the first time in a very long time, I actually had and took the time to reflect on me (vs. my kids, or my job, or my husband), what I wanted, what brought me fulfillment and purpose and joy. Wow! I realized that I had changed, and that what I needed in order to feel alive and fulfilled was different now than it was 10 years earlier.
- Setting my husband up with what I thought was a career coach but was actually a life coach. While working with her, I watched him make changes that I never thought possible. Remarkable! Eventually, he left a very lucrative (and stressful with high travel) job for a position in academia, which allowed him to be more available and present at home.
- Realizing that one of my kids had some real learning differences. Around this same time, we received a diagnosis that helped explain why some things were so much harder for this child than for other kids. I was able to see the world from my child’s perspective, and this made me realize how much pressure I had been putting on my child to “succeed” in the same way I had. This realization changed how I saw everything and inspired me to get certified in “Positive Discipline.”
- Taking up Bikram Yoga. My friend had been gently prodding me to try out Bikram for some time now, and since my world was shifting so much already, I finally caved in and went. I hated that first class. And yet, I wanted to go back. After a few months, I was a regular. The mindfulness, the combination of exertion (“doing”) and relaxation (“being,”) the physical challenge, and self-awareness I got during Bikram Yoga all added to my storm.
As a result of the storm, I decided to explore coaching as a career. I enrolled at The Coaches Training Institute in San Rafael and knew right away that I had found my new calling.
I would like to thank the people who helped me figure out my path: Linda Lesem, Francesca Kleinsmith Painter, Lora Banks, Diane Johnson, the Coaches Training Institute, The NeuroLeadership Group, Kie Johnson, Jessie Nakamura, Lisa Fuller, Woody and Judy Square, my kids, my husband, and my many wonderful friends who let me practice coaching on them.
I’ll end with a favorite quote from anthropologist, Joseph Campbell:
“You must give up the life you had planned, in order to live the life that waits for you.”
And one more that I saw on a t-shirt:
“Life is one big experiment. Be your own guinea pig!”