career&entrepreneurship, entrepreneurship, mind&soul
comments 3

Wild women DO, – interview with Marie Milligan

“I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear.”
― Nelson Mandela

The human beings are strange in the defining the place that we call “comfort”. We need to have stability and diversity of new possibilities. Some of us are living the life with a wish of a stable family, life in peace and when they finally reach that, – they are still not satisfied. Some of us decide to climb to the top of the career ladder while sacrificing our private lives, and the day they become the CEO/CFO/COO they do not feel happy anyway.

We decided to talk to Marie Milligan – a motivational speaker and coach from London, UK, who helps women to define their goals and plan their life in balance with the their ambitious goals and wishes.


Marie Milligan

Marie Milligan


Marie holds a one-day free workshop for women in tech in collaboration with PyLadies STHLM

“Define your purpose & build a career/business in Tech”

On the 6th on Septemeber 2014 at 10:30 a.m.
Adress: Klarabergsvidukten 90
Stockholm, Sweden

Get a spot 

 Sponsored by: Lifesum


– Hello, Marie! Tell us a little bit about how you got the idea of such seminars and when? How long have you been working with this program?

I’ve been supporting entrepreneurs to grow their business through advising, training, coaching and writing materials for 10 years now. Workshops usually have taken place within the Higher Education enterprise environment or within businesses; usually to help people know how to develop their ideas, define their career path, do better business, or grow their confidence. Over the years, I’ve covered so many topics related to either your career or business development but I love this particular topic of defining your purpose and then acting on it. Wild Women Do began, and we’ve new programmes based on years of experience.


– Do women need to be wild to be able to do something? To change something?

By wild, I mean a woman who allows herself to grow freely, without restriction; has a spirit that wants to wander, explore, be curious about different paths; someone who takes a stand for what she wants and then takes action to make it happen.

Wild is about a sense of being clear of who you are but not stifling your growth if you decide you want to try new things; it’s a way of being, where your passion is kept burning and you’ve an energy to get things done.

So if I was to take your question from that perspective, I’d say, ‘yes’, it’s important for a woman to have the inner strength and courage to live life on her terms. She needs to be mindful of when to make the necessary changes (internally or externally) to ensure she enjoys her daily experience, and to take action sooner if she isn’t.

– What do you think stops women to take a step, leave their comfort zone, etc.?

90% of the time, it’s an inner saboteur that says ‘I’m not good enough to do that’, or ‘I’m scared of failing’.This manifests itself in fearful, doubting, cautious thoughts that hold you back from taking the risk. Of course, there are other contexts to not stepping forward, like adequate resource to take action (money, time, space, people, materials, knowledge, skills).

From what I’ve learnt of working with entrepreneurial women, it’s most often the inner block, not the outer one that is the barrier to success.

Releasing our ideas or expressing part of our soul to the world can be scary but it’s also exciting; only when we allow ourselves to be vulnerable, and stretch ourselves further, can we do greater, braver work.

– Is there some special strategy for women in tech wishing to build a business or find the right path in their career? How can you help them specifically at this workshop?

The strategy is appropriate to what specific type of business or employer the women really want to work with, as well as what type of influence do they want to have in their career. There are common steps to setting up any business, or defining your career path, to ensure you’re creating strong foundations for yourself no matter the direction.

‘Women in tech’ refers to women creating the technology, but it can also mean being part of a technology business, even if your role isn’t technological. The tech industry globally is booming, and there’s a real focus on women being more equal in big business. We’ll be exploring how PyLadiesStockholm can take advantage of these themes in relation to their own work desires, and the opportunities they want to create for themselves.

My main intention in the workshops, is to ensure the women know what they want, why, and how to go about it.

We’ll be ensuring they know their value, their strengths, their vision, and get a plan in place to take them from the now, to what next.

– Did you experience a drastic career change in your life, what led to it? What is your advice to women that are about to do the same?

I began my professional career as a musician, performing in small ensembles at events, and managing orchestras at the Royal Conservatoire, Scotland. I’d always dreamed of recording film music scores but 15 years of training on 5 different instruments, constant rehearsals, concerts, and the life of musician started to feel dissonant not resonant. I made a decision to get out, and try something different, to see if my passion would return, but it changed.

I stumbled on an organisation supporting the creative sector in Scotland to manage self-employment and build businesses, and took a role in their Professional Development team. 5 years later, I’d learnt everything I could know about what entrepreneurs needed and wanted, and importantly, that graduates were coming out with a lack of skills to startup.

While I was employed, I retrained as a coach to help clients on a deeper level, and spent 2 years volunteering for a global coaching standards company to learn everything I could about coaching and mentoring worldwide. It was at that time, an opportunity came up to teach enterprise skills at the University of the Arts London. I wanted to give graduates and professionals the confidence to make a good living from their creative, innovative talents, so moved from Scotland to London and thrived on teaching across 6 world-class colleges. I was coaching Undergrads, Postgrads, Academics, Graduates – Designers, Fashion-Labels, Photographers, Writers, Architects, Film-Makers, Illustrators, Animators, Jewellers and more. Everyday challenged me more but I loved it.

Marie sharing her #IStandFor pic.

Marie sharing her #IStandFor pic.

Since 2009, I’ve been doing much of the same; coaching, teaching, consulting and writing materials to help students, graduates and professionals from every sector, not just the creative industries, to know how to sustain a business, not just start-one up! I started my own business in October 2013 after years of helping everyone else start theirs.

My advice to a woman contemplating making a drastic change in her life and career, is get a Coach. I got a Coach at the point I needed it, and it really helped me to get clear, confident and courageous enough to make a stand for what my heart wanted, not just my head. It’s what I help women to do the most now too. Talk to people in the industry you want to get into, and find out more about what it’s really like. Remember, everyone has their subjective view, so ask as many varied people as you can to get a balanced perspective.

Make time to reflect, not just dive into the challenge – understand how the change is going to affect your whole life, not just your working life.

How will your day-to-day be? What experiences will this new career bring you? What skills will you get to use in it, and do you like doing those things more? It’s easy at the point you’re desperate to leave a job you don’t like, to jump into something else – but I urge you to give yourself space to get to know yourself more, and then take action from that place of clear, calm and centred. A coach can help you get there quicker than on your own.

– When building a career and following your passion it’s so important to not forget to just LIVE and be happy. What is your recipe for a well balanced entrepreneur life?

Absolutely! Wellness is one of my most favourite subjects to coach, teach and write about! I’m writing a book about The Healthy Entrepreneur which is all about this topic.

I’d say define your version of balance – and put it into context. Your energy levels can determine what balance you need. Listen to your body, what does it want today?

Take time every single day to be mindful of what your heart, mind and body wants and do something about it.

If you’ve warning signs you need to take a break, do everything in your power to make that happen. Nourish yourself first then your business, because you’re your best asset.

My own recipe for a well balanced entrepreneurial life, is be in nature and near animals every day. I live on a canal-boat in Little Venice so this is easy! I bring fresh living foods into my diet as much as possible, cutting out anything that over stimulates. I’ve joined a local gym and train 4 times per week because I enjoy feeling stronger every day. There’s usually a candle or aromatherapy oil burning at times in the day to give a sense of calm too. We’ve also a great community on the canal, and we chat to our neighbours most evenings.

Marie's usual working place in one of the cafes in London

Marie’s usual working place in one of the cafes in London

I make time for creative thinking and doing – there’s a notepad for sketching ideas, and the laptop when I’m scheduled to work. My schedule is worked out a week in advance so I’ve a structure but also flexibility to my week. When I’ve a coaching session, clients come to me in Little Venice, and we walk and coach or spend time brainstorming in our local green cafe. We finish work by 7pm most evenings, but I’m loving what I’m doing right now, and there’s a lot to get done, so sometimes that can be later. My partner’s a Designer and he works in the boat too, so I get to be with loved ones daily which boosts me to be a better person.

We laugh every day which is so important and see friends and family as part of that balance. My brother’s just adopted a second baby and being with my nephews is a lot of fun! We go out to stimulate our imagination by getting curious in London. We’ve so much at our fingertips – green spaces, cultural sites, amazing food, history. It’s not difficult to get inspired here! Where possible, I make free space in my diary every weekend just to feel free, be spontaneous, and do what feels good.

That for me is my version of balance. What’s yours?


  1. Pingback: Wild women DO, – interview with Marie Milligan | Life as an Investment

  2. Pingback: In Wake of the Stockholm Tech Fest, Part I: Diversity

  3. Pingback: What do you want to be when you grow up? - Life as an investment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *