There are MUM alumni career success stories — and then there is Marci Shimoff. An MUM grad in 1979, Marci is the woman’s face of the biggest self-help book phenomenon in history as co-author of six bestselling titles in the Chicken Soup for the Woman’s Soul series. Her most recent books, Happy For No Reason and Love for No Reason are also New York Times bestsellers.
In all, Marci’s books have sold more than 15 million copies and have been on the New York Times bestseller list for 118 weeks. She’s been interviewed on hundreds of TV and radio programs, hosted a PBS documentary, and was a featured teacher in the international film and book phenomenon, The Secret. She also gives frequent keynote addresses on topics such as peak performance to corporations worldwide.
Her time at MUM, Marci says, played in important role in career successes.
“The people who have been really fundamental in my career are the people I went to MUM with,” she says. “I got my first job from an MUM graduate. My co-author, Carol Kline, was in my class at MUM.”
After graduating high school, Marci had enrolled in a large university near her home in Northern California. But she left after only one semester. “I felt unfulfilled,” she recalls. “I wanted more. I wanted more meaning.”
Already a practitioner of the Transcendental Meditation technique (since the age of 16), Marci had been aware of MUM and decided to try the school out. “When I arrived I felt like I’d found my tribe,” she says. “Everything about the school resonated with me. Most important, everything was taught in the light of consciousness, in truth and wisdom. I loved that the basis of my education was the development of my own consciousness. At MUM, I had a quantum shift in my level of happiness.”
As a young teenager, Marci had been interested in the deeper dimensions of life. She was driven to gain wisdom and wanted to find ways to share it with others. When she was 13, she’d been enthralled watching the great motivational speaker, Zig Zigler, move an audience with an inspirational talk. “When I saw that,” Marci says, “I knew that’s what I wanted to do with my life.”
After MUM, she went on to UCLA and earned an MBA, specializing in organizational behavior. Her goal was to lead workshops on subjects such as stress management and communications skills, as a way to bring enlightened thinking and practices into the corporate world. She gave trainings to large groups at Fortune 500 companies including General Motors, Bristol-Myers Squibb, AT&T, and others.
She was a good motivational speaker but she wanted to be a great one. To improve her skills, she sought out motivational speaking expert Jack Canfield (who would later become famous as the author of Chicken Soup for the Soul) for guidance. Jack became Marci’s mentor. Her skills increased dramatically and she found herself working constantly.
Then the breakthrough happened, the inspiration that sent her career rocketing into the stratosphere. It was the fourth day of a week-long Transcendental Meditation retreat. “In the middle of my meditation,” she says, “a light bulb went off in my head and I saw the words, Chicken Soup for the Woman’s Soul.”
Excited by the revelation, she phoned Jack Canfield, who loved the idea. So did his publisher. Soon Marci was working on Chicken Soup for the Woman’s Soul. Two years later it was published and became an immediate bestseller. Over the next several years, Marci would go on to co-author five more Chicken Soup books, each one a bestseller. She’d become a publishing sensation.
Eventually, Marci says, “I’d cooked all the Chicken Soup I could cook.” She became interested in researching happiness, and wrote Happy for No Reason: 7 Steps to Being Happy from the Inside Out and Love for No Reason: 7 Steps to Creating a Life of Unconditional Love, Like all of Marci’s books, they were received well and heralded by authors and celebrities, including Dr. Mehmet Oz, Marianne Williamson, and John Gray.
Today, Marci splits her time among several projects. She continues to inspire global audiences with her keynote addresses. Frequently approached by media for her insights and advice, she is interviewed often. She mentors future speakers and authors in an intensive workshop setting. And she partcipates on the board of directors of the Transformational Leadership Council, an exclusive group of 100 top leaders in the self-development field.
And, of course, she’s at work on her next book.
“This all happened from a vision I had when I was 13,” says Marci. “I knew I would be traveling the world and speaking to audiences and inspiring them. I also knew I’d be connected to a community of spiritual people. As for MUM, it was invaluable to me. I am grateful beyond measure for my experience there.”
Written by Warren Goldie