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Tracy Frank, Published October 29 2013

Her Voice: Fargo woman takes leap of faith in leaving job to become empowerment coach

FARGO – With the amethyst streak in her light blond hair, Marilyn McMurray looks like confidence personified.

But she insists the streak is nothing she ever would have done on her own. She has always been someone who would rather blend in than stand out, she said.

She’s been taking a lot of chances lately, from adding the attention-grabbing splash of color on the advice of her hairstylist to leaving her stable job in the non-profit sector so she could focus on her business as an empowerment coach.

McMurray, 39, of Fargo, started her business, Marilyn McMurray Heart 2 Heart in January after taking an intensive course in self-awareness.

Her tag line is “I can help you with that.” She focuses on helping clients figure out what brings them joy.

“Some people feel stuck and don’t feel like they have any other options,” she said. “Especially as moms we get so busy surviving we forget what brings us joy.”

McMurray, who is married and has two children, has always had a gift for helping people. She realizes now that it’s a calling to help guide others in discovering their life’s purpose, she said.

She asks a lot of questions when she starts working with someone and has developed “Affirmations for Guilty Moms,” a set of cards to help her clients fill their minds with positive thoughts and be the best version of themselves.

They say things like, “I am free to sing my own song,” and “I am working on being a better me every day.”

And they can be a good starting point to helping people find their joy, McMurray said.

“Women get caught up in comparison,” she said. “We compare ourselves to others a lot and that’s one thing I work with people on. You’re you and you were created by God to be a perfect image.”

Helping people find their joy is what brings McMurray ultimate joy, she said.

“I’ve lived it and I know how good it feels on the other side of learning these techniques and going through these things,” she said. “That’s why I feel I can really help people because I can relate.”

Some clients meet with her once and others meet with her once a month.

McMurray also holds classes and individual sessions on body image called “Love the One You’re With.”

“People have used food as a crutch to not deal with emotions,” she said.

In the body image class, she addresses those emotions and looks at the reasons why people eat, she said.

McMurray has struggled with body issues since she was 6 years old, she said. She remembers buying jeans in the early ’80s and having limited choices because she had to buy “husky” jeans, she said.

She went through years of yo-yo dieting before finding that the underlying cause of her problems was emotional eating, she said.

Now she uses Isagenix products (weight-loss, wellness, and skincare products sold through multilevel marketing), which she also sells. McMurray was selling products through another multi-level marketing company but switched to Isagenix because the products worked for her, she said.

She has also made an agreement with her body to eat 80 percent whole foods and allow herself 20 percent leeway because she’s gone through too many diets that didn’t work in which she would deny herself certain foods, she said.

She no longer views food as good or bad. She views it as fuel, she said.

“Before I was surviving, now I feel I’m thriving,” said McMurray, who has lost 48 pounds.

Readers can reach Forum reporter

Tracy Frank at (701) 241-5526