Majo Molfino On Breaking The Good Girl Myth
You know when you meet someone who manages to be eloquent, thoughtful *and* an action-oriented badass at the same time? It's a truly rare combination, and one unique to Majo Molfino. Known for asking tough questions (of herself and the brilliant people around her) and taking a different approach to breaking stereotypes, Majo's book Break The Good Girl Myth is a guidebook to squashing perfectionist mythology and finding yourself. Today we'll ask *her* the questions, and still probably end up finding ourselves — she's got a knack for making that happen.
Anjelika Temple here, co-founder of Brit + Co, reformed perfectionist, unconventional overachiever, and co-host of Selfmade, B+C's new-ish 10-week entrepreneurial program! I connected with Majo when we brought her on as a coach and mentor for our fall session of Selfmade, and immediately fell for her take on designing your purpose instead of searching endlessly for it. Majo also hosts her own powerful course called IGNITE, an 8-week creative leadership program all about designing your creative purpose and manifesting your creative dreams. Sign us up!
Read on for more about how she found *her* purpose and mission, and don't be surprised if you find yourself reclaiming your true power by the end of this Q&A ;)
Anjelika Temple: First off, tell us a little more about your background. Where did you grow up? What did you study? Where are you based now?
Majo Molfino: I was born in Buenos Aires, Argentina, but my parents immigrated to Canada when I was two years old. We moved around a lot so I've lived in over ten different cities in the Canada and U.S. before making my way out to the San Francisco Bay Area which is where I'm now based. I love being a woman of California. I feel at home here.
Anj: Next, let's hear a bit about your career path, and what led you going out on your own, becoming an author, coach, workshop leader.
Majo: In my mid 20s, I realized I deeply cared about women's leadership, and specifically, their creative confidence and power. Anchoring into this purpose helped shape and inform everything else. Once I had the clear sense of "why," the "how" became an expression of my strengths and gifts. I've always loved communicating and writing, as well as guiding and mentoring others. I love design and the creative process, so that became a central part of my point-of-view in empowering women. I encourage women to define their "why," and not get too caught up in the "how" which evolves and changes over time.
Anj: How has your (and your parents') immigrant experience shaped who you are today?
Majo: Being an immigrant is a state of adaptation and a feeling of being "in between." I didn't quite feel fully Argentinean, Canadian, or American, and having multiple cultural identities has allowed me to think of identity as a fluid, evolving thing. Being multilingual and multicultural has given me permission to be multi-passionate in my career and refuse to be boxed into a certain role or label. At the same time, I felt a pressure to repay my parents for their sacrifice, so I became that prototypical good girl who got straight A's and was terrified of disappointing my parents. My journey in unlearning these good girl tendencies is what led me to write my first book, Break the Good Girl Myth.
Anj: On that note, your book has quickly become a go-to resource for women from all walks of life — entrepreneurs, mothers, recent grads embracing adulthood with authenticity and optimism. Talk to us about what inspired you to write your book.
Majo: In working with women, I noticed that many of them wanted to be badasses and share their gifts, but continued to be stuck. And this was painful to watch, because so many women have incredible contributions they can offer the world, and the world desperately needs female perspectives, so I wondered how to support in unblocking them. Many were experiencing the same blindspots. A lot of it was under the surface, subconscious habits they picked up as little girls and was affecting their leadership today – which is how I developed the five good girl myths – these five core strategies for approval that women were using, and that were keeping them stuck. I explore these five myths in-depth in the book, as well as provide tools, frameworks, and solutions for breaking free from them. Breaking the good girl myth is about reclaiming your power as a woman, and designing a life that you want, instead of a life that is expected of you.
Anj: What was the process of writing it like? What did you love (and hate) about it?
Majo: Deep sigh. Writing is one of my deepest callings, and it's really hard. It's like the weather. Some days, there's flow. Other days, there's grind. I loved going deep into the stories of women, imagining myself back in our conversations, painting a scene, and getting really detailed. I disliked writing poorly (Who doesn't? Especially if you're a recovering "good girl!"), but I realized that was part of the process of getting the ideas out and refining them later.
Anj: How did it feel when you put it out in the world? Was there a moment that you realized you had struck such a poignant chord?
Majo: There have been many small moments, the direct messages, emails, texts, and notes from women who have shared the book has seriously supported them in making the next big transition in their life. That has always been my intention with the book: to activate women to share their gifts. Not tomorrow. Today.
Anj: Design thinking is a key part of how you recommend we break perfectionism. Talk to us more about that.
Majo: Perfectionism blocks action – it causes us to procrastinate, overanalyze, avoid, delay, and do everything in our power not to do the work. Design thinking is an incredible antidote because it teaches us how to take action in a non-intimidating way that builds creative confidence – the ability to come up with new ideas and the courage to try them out. The best part of design thinking is making prototypes of our ideas. A prototype is a small, quick, easy-to-make, easy-to-break version of our idea or goal. They are purposefully imperfect because they are only approximations of our ideas and are meant to be eventually thrown out. If you're not used to putting yourself out there, prototyping is a great way to take mini uncomfortable leaps that won't terrify and paralyze you. We don't have time to get it "perfect;" we just need to get it out.
Anj: You've been such an amazing collaborator and coach during the fall session of Selfmade. What have been your key takeaways on the program so far?
Majo: It's been amazing to see all the parts required for a business to flourish and succeed. I truly wish I had taken Selfmade when I was beginning my entrepreneurial journey eight years ago. The modules about how to hone in on a business idea, as well as the different business models (with B+C as a case study) were such gold. The mentors, like Boz St. John, the CMO of Netflix, have been real highlights for me. Hearing the stories of badass women is not only inspiring, but tactical as each woman has a different way of approaching a business problem.
Anj: You also have your own incredible program, IGNITE. Tell us more about it!
Majo: I believe every woman has a creative purpose she must design and express. But it's scary! Too many of us dangerously delay our creative dreams because of our resistance (excuses, negative self-beliefs, perfectionism, self-doubt, fears, etc.). IGNITE is an 8-week program that invites you to build creative confidence and define, test, and share their creative idea with the world, without quitting your day job or making a big career move. It's for a woman who is ready to play bigger and step into her creative potential. If you're interested in learning more, check out IGNITE here.
Anj: What advice do you have for creatives and would-be entrepreneurs who are searching for their purpose?
Majo: Stop the "searching," and start designing your way forward. We actually design, not discover, our purpose. It's a very active process. Your purpose and expertise is the culmination and intersections of multiple things that you *choose* to thread together. Connections that you see and forge. It's about trying a bunch of stuff out, learning, and course-correcting as you go. It involves a whole lot of choice, effort, and deliberate, free will. Certainly not waiting or delaying for the best "time" or "right answer."
Anj: Shifting gears back to you — part of breaking these myths is about self-preservation. how do you strike the balance between your own mental health and the pressure to be productive?
Majo: The pressure to be productive is very real. In our culture, success is about climbing the ladder or striving to the top of the mountain and staking your flag. Since I was a little girl, I bought into this narrative and often still do, but at the end of the day, what's most important is to detach my sense of self-worth from my work. A mantra I recommend to embrace is "I am worthy simply because I exist." That way, at the end of the day, even if you didn't "get anything done," you can still take a deep breath, and love yourself completely. In the book, I also share how to set work boundaries to avoid burnout, how to say no, how to keep your plate spacious so you're not overwhelmed, and how to have self-compassion.
Anj: How do you reset? What does that even look like for you now in the pandemic and normally?
Majo: My biggest and most effective reset is to unplug from technology for at least 24 hours. I am also big into morning and evening self-care rituals. In my experience of doing self-care rituals for years, and supporting women in designing their own, I noticed they help us feel more grounded and less fragmented, especially in a world that is groping for our attention twenty-four seven. It's one of the most powerful forms of boundaries we can have. Given the pandemic, in which the lines are being blurred between home and work, we need rituals and boundaries more than ever.
Anj: Tell us more about your creative community and support system.
Majo: I'm lucky to be surrounded by incredible badass women. So much of my inspiration and creative community has emerged from my podcast HEROINE. I've been able to interview women who are leaving incredible creative legacies behind including the most widely read Spanish-speaking author Isabel Allende, design icon Eileen Fisher, illustrator and letterer Jessica Hische, New York Times bestselling culture critic Luvvie Ajayii, entrepreneur Sophia Amoruso, and author Gretchen Rubin.
Anj: If you could give your younger self a pep talk, what would it sound like?
Majo: It would be pretty simple: Enjoy the process and journey because there is no destination. And practice self-compassion along the way. :)
Want more Majo? Of course you do! Here's where to find her: Follow Majo on Instagram @majomolfino; treat yourself to her book Break the Good Girl Myth; listen to her podcast HEROINE wherever you get your podcasts; and if you're feeling like making some bold 2021 resolutions, sign up for her IGNITE program!