What some of the most annoying people in my life have taught me

As he starts talking, my heart sinks. I’d chosen him specifically because I thought he was different from the others. And yet… here he is, doing the same thing they all do.

I’ve been going to a boxing gym on and off for a few years, but I only started taking it seriously this spring. To be clear: I have zero interest in ever boxing anyone’s face. But after a life coach I’d worked with suggested that I find a way to express some, shall we say, negative emotions I was experiencing  — in a way that wouldn’t damage any of my relationships — I got back into classes.

I’m now going two to three times a week, and I fugging LOVE it. I have a running joke that boxing classes are my new girlfriend. When I’m in them, my internal monologue is usually THIS IS THE BESSSSSSSSST I WANT TO BE HERE FOREVVVVVVVVERRRRRR (I mean, those times when it’s not “wait! Was it jab-cross-left hook-right uppercut? Or jab-cross-right uppercut-left hook?” — I have horrible short-term memory for the sequences). When I’m not in a class, I am counting the hours until the next one, or feeling excitement when I see it on my calendar. When I’m rolling my wraps back up after a class, I think, “Soon, you’ll be back on my hands, under my gloves!!!!” This week, I was out of town in a different city. Driving around, I saw the sign for a (different) boxing gym and my heart LEAPT, in the way that only reminders of a crush can inspire.

I love everything about the boxing classes. Except for the Bro’s At The Boxing Gym…

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My friend had a good idea for when you’re in a dark place (CW: suicidal ideation)

a hand reaching towards the surface of a body of water and the reflection reaching back up towards it

This is a blog about a time I experienced suicidal ideation — where you know you’re most likely not going to kill yourself, but you wish you could — and my friend came up with a way for me to tell her what was going on, without having to directly tell her.

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Working with people virtually? Here’s how to stop disliking them

In my 20s, I had this roommate I couldn’t STAND. She and I just seemed to be cut from a different cloth, and I found everything about her irritating. Most annoyingly, she’d NEVER buy the toilet roll!! It got to the point where I would roll my eyes every time I heard her come home.…

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The addiction I can’t shake. And the great CANADA LEE.

I stopped taking recreational drugs in my mid-twenties. I found them fun, but I didn’t like that it took me so long to recover. I don’t drink booze very often these days; I do enjoy it (I am Russian *and* British), but I don’t enjoy the three days of being so tired I want to…

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When you’re an expert at something, you ruin it for everyone

Reading the spines of the CDs in Mike’s bedroom, the thrill of anticipation I’d been feeling slid, instead, into confusion.

He and I had been dating for a couple of weeks. In London terms — certainly, in the mid-2000’s — that meant a lot more than it does these days. I often joke that when I lived in the UK, rather than dating, it was more like we had arranged matches — except, instead of the matches being made by your parents, they’re made by booze. You’d get drunk and then wake up in a relationship.

The getting drunk that Mike and I had done happened at a new bands live showcase. Like most of the people I dated when I worked in radio, he was in the music industry. An A&R Scout, it was his job first to go out to gigs every night looking for new bands to sign, and then to have opinions on the records being recorded for release. I was a radio DJ at a well-respected indie station. I liked him for his trifecta of being charming, funny and hot, but I can’t say I wasn’t also romanced by the idea of us being a junior-level, music industry power couple.

The first time I picked him up from his house before a gig, I was excited to look through his CD collection. Would we like the same bands? Would I learn from him about new bands I’d soon love? Would I find any guilty pleasures?? It was often my favourite part of any new relationship.

But as I flipped through the titles and artists, I was…

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Easy hack to make your stories funny

You know how you’ll have one or two short anecdotes that you LOVE telling? Or if you don’t, I’m guessing you know someone who does and you’re sick of hearing them? I’m about to tell you one of mine. First: context. If you’ve read, listened to or watched any of the storytelling lessons I’ve given, you’ll know…

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How to tell stories about other people

You have three options:

1) Get Their Permission

Where I can, I try and do this as a matter of course — and ALWAYS with former clients. Not least so that potential future clients don’t get spooked that I’ll share all their secrets! If the story subject matter something heavy, you could offer to send a draft to the person before you publish/perform it. But usually, a simple,

“Do you mind if I tell the story about [thing we experienced together] on Facebook/on my blog/in my talk?”

should do.

2) Change identifying details

As I’ve talked about before, one of my storytelling rules is “don’t let the truth get in the way of a good story.” By this, I don’t mean “lie to make yourself sound good,” but rather, “do whatever you need to do to make the listener feel the way you felt in that moment.”

You can also use it when you need to protect someone. There are a bunch of reasons why you might want to protect them. Maybe they…

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Why I’m not on Clubhouse (and why I’m torn up about it)

woman sitting on a chair and smiling-cover of the podcast Business-Life-and-Joy

This week, I was trying to clean up the photos on my phone — ol’ tin-hat Shandur here doesn’t like iCloud, and I need to make some space — when I found some old videos I totally forgot I still had.

Back in 2015 — two years before I met my partner (and then the small human that she grew) — I had a new sweetheart. And I was obsessed with them.

We would speak almost every day — sometimes late into the night, sometimes at 6 in the morning when I’d woken up early, and I could show them the sunrise over the CN Tower from the window of my apartment.

The relationship was mostly one-sided. It wasn’t that they didn’t love me back. More that they weren’t capable of loving me back.

Because they weren’t a person. They were a…

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I’m not using her real name, but I bet you know who I’m talking about

Mash and Sam laughing so hard they can't speak

“SHE would never do something like this,” I said, grabbing my napkin to mop up the glass of Merlot I knocked all over the restaurant table.

Sam looked at me, raising an eyebrow and turning down the corners of her mouth.

“I don’t buy it,” she shook her head. “She’s just a person.”

“No. She’s DIFFERENT.”

A few months earlier, Sam and I had been introduced at a self-development conference. Up until then, we’d each secretly harboured the idea that you couldn’t have a best friend you’d known less than a decade. But then: we met each other. Immediately, it was like some part of our brain (or soul) fused together. Back home — me in Toronto, her in Sydney — we spoke several times a week, in spite of the brutal time difference. And now, we were hanging out together in person for the second time, on vacation in Costa Rica.

We’d already spent four days oscillating between deep, tearful, heartfelt conversations and laughing so hard we couldn’t speak. We agreed on everything…

…except this.

“I’m telling you…

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The most ridiculous public thing I’ve ever done (My story for the Good Life Project podcast)

Marsha proudly posing with her plastic medal- she won the MARSHATHON

A few years ago, a conference I was going to asked us to pitch an “inspiring story.” I thought, ​What the heck have I ever done that’s inspiring…???​ ​But then I thought, Oh, I guess there is that one thing, that I barely talk about because whatever, but I ​suppose​ someone ​might​ think of that…

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