Category Archives: Shyness

Posts that relate to being shy, either in general or just with new people.

Quiet The Beast: How to deal with the part of your brain that says mean things to you

When I was growing up, I just thought certain things were truths. Being messy is bad. Not having cool clothes (a puffball skirt, say, or a stonewashed denim jacket and matching skirt) means people won’t like you. Being fat is my fault and something I should be ashamed of.

In my teens and early twenties, the list grew. Going too far with a boy makes you easy. Wanting to kiss a girl is weird and gross. Smoking makes you cool. Especially if you’re not drunk. Especially Benson and Hedges.

Twenty years, countless self-help books, hours of journalling and — thank you, privilege — a LOT of therapy taught me that those ideas were just that, ideas. They weren’t truths. When I believed them to be true about me, and used that to judge myself, it wasn’t because this was a reasonable conclusion to make. These thoughts were just the “inner critic.” One part of your brain that sometimes (often) lied.

But then, I faced a new problem: if I had figured this out, why was it still happening? If I’m so evolved, why do I keep saying such awful things to myself?

Since becoming a storytelling and speaker coach, I’ve spent a lot of time with brilliant, successful people, listening to their personal stories. One thing that I have come to understand is that having this voice that says mean things about you to you — a voice which I call your Beast — is part of the human experience. And that the trick is not to squash it, and not even to love it. But just to do what you can to reduce the volume and frequency with which it speaks to a level where you can start to tune it out. When you can, you have have a nicer life, and you can change more lives.

This year, I was asked to give the closing keynote at the penultimate (ever!) World Domination Summit. Instead of talking, as I usually do, about Storytelling or Sales Pages or even my I Don’t Have My iSht Together, Either project, I decided to write a brand new talk, where I shared the four steps that have helped me figure out how to master my Beast.

To watch it, click on “Read more” then on the big play button on the vid:

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Why are you so interesting, Marsha, and I’m so boring?

Have you ever thought that?

Maybe not about me, but about someone else you follow online? Someone who writes newsletters or Facebook posts that you always read. Someone who, every week, seems to be doing something cool and even if you don’t necessarily wish you were them, you wish you could hang out with them. You feel like they get you.

(Maybe you’ve even considered buying from them just to get a bit closer…)

Want to know how they do that? Want to know how YOU could?

By telling your stories.

But…what if nothing that exciting has ever happened to you? What if you don’t have any stories?

Then, you’re screwed. Give up now.

Obviously, I’m kidding.

The wonderful thing about stories is…

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How to stand out when everyone else is selling, too

(AKA “What is it about crying in the bath that’s so exquisitely painful?”)

I sat at my desk, finger hovering over my mouse and feeling sick.
In the words of my friend Holly G, I used to sell my services like I was trying to sell drugs in a back alley. Back in my first year of business, I’d whisper what was on offer once, then never mention it again. In case you’re wondering, I did not have a steady stream of customers.

But, after some tough love from my sales coach (Kendrick Shope), here I was, about to send an email to my list, where I was openly — in my mind, aggressively — asking for the sale. I was terrified. I had started with a story, because I always start things with a story. But then I had very clearly spelled out why the person reading should hire me. I felt so pushy.

Frowning at the screen, I was totally convinced that, within minutes, all 200 people on my mailing list would unsubscribe. Perhaps some of them might appear outside my house with picket signs and tomatoes to throw. I took a deep breath and…

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The most compelling stories you should tell in your blogs and/or to get clients + overcoming resistance — Yes Yes Questions 5 Review!

If you’re wondering any of these things:

Which are the best stories to tell in your blogs?
Is my story is interesting enough for a memoir?
How do I tell my story in order to draw in new clients?
I want to start your own live event, how do I do that?
How can I overcome resistance when it comes to being visible online?
Then you’re IN LUCK!…

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When you meet new people, do you ever just irrationally HATE them?

This is a little embarrassing to admit, but here goes:

A few weeks ago, I locked my bike up outside this juice bar in Portland, a tight ball of nausea in the bottom of my stomach.

I was at WDS – the conference World Domination Summit, where do-gooders (like me) try and make the world a better place – and arriving at my first ‘meet-up’. These are impromptu gatherings thrown by attendees. I had my own one the following day, a short workshop on How To Tell Compelling Stories. But this one at the juice bar was a storytelling meet-up being thrown by someone else – a lady I’d never met before, and was a bit scared of.

Two days before, I’d (finally, very last-minute) decided to put on my own meet-up about storytelling. As I scrolled through those other people had posted, I realised that there was already one happening on the same subject. Gutted at first, I then looked into the details and decided it was ok for both to exist. This one, by a lady called Sara Hunt, was going to be about how to figure out which of your own stories to tell. Mine was more about how to tell your stories. Also, hers was already full, so I figured it was even more ok to put mine on.

But I am a perennial people pleaser, and I was still worried that she’d be annoyed. So I sent her an email.

In it, I explained what I felt the differences were between our two workshops, and told her I’d love to meet her at some point – which was true; from her website and blog, she seemed cool and interesting. Then, I asked whether, if there ended up being a free spot, I could come along to her meet-up.

It took me about 20 minutes of writing and rewriting to compose this last question.

What if she thought I was just coming along to steal her ideas? What if she was annoyed that I was running my own storytelling meet-up and it made her not like me?

My fears were trumped by how much I wanted to go, so I asked. To my relief, I got a reply saying she’d love to have me along.

But now, I was actually here…

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This is easy, makes people feel INCREDIBLE – and nobody does it

Walking into the food court, I looked over at the Greek place and saw that the man wasn’t even there. Relief flooded my chest.

That solves it, I thought – but then, I noticed him. Not behind the counter but in the kitchen area at the back.
As I passed, I could tell he hadn’t seen me. Pushing my way into the dingy washrooms, with the grip of anxiety in my chest, I began my internal battle.

Don’t bother. He doesn’t even know you’re here. You’re scared of talking to strangers, and it’s not a big deal.
The tension released a little.
But, Marsh, it’s the nice thing to do. You’d like it if you were him. And the tightness came back.

Three days before…

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15 Things I Learned From Moving Across An Ocean In My Thirties

Five years ago tomorrow, wildly in love and ready to leave London, I picked up my stuffed suitcase, and got on a plane, to move to Toronto.

While the romance didn’t last forever, we managed to spin our love into a best friendship (thank you, two years of couples therapy – worth every penny) and, as well as that, I’m left with profound, parental love for my ex’s kid, and unbridled devotion to this city, which feels absolutely like my home. I can’t imagine EVER wanting to leave.

So, in honour of my FIVE YEAR CANADAVERSARY, here are 15 things I learned:

(1) It’s hard. Like, really, really hard

When I was moving, so many people I told said, “You’re so brave!” and I would reply, “No I’m not! If I don’t like it, I’ll just come back!”. What I didn’t anticipate was that it would be really hard and I would still want to stay. About six months in, once the honeymoon period (“Wow! I really did leave all my problems in London!!!!”) wore off, I suddenly realised, “Oh. THIS is what they were talking about….”

(2) The hardness last about a total of two years, tapering at the end

From talking to a lot of other people, it seems this length of time is mostly universal. Putting this out there in case you’re thinking of moving somewhere.

(3) The things that you find hard aren’t the ones you’d expect to

Yes, I missed my mum and my friends, and change can be difficult. But what was hardest were the little things. Like knowing…

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How to Avoid Small Talk – with the Perfect Question (VIDEO)

My friend was once in a queue and overheard the man behind him loudly declaring, “You see, I’m the kind of guy who really doesn’t like to line up. I like to just get in and get out. But this? Not for me.”

I feel about him the way I feel about the kind of smug, annoying person who…

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Made a Dork of yourself in front of a VIP? Here’s how to deal. ASK (YES YES) MARSH (VIDEO)

Acting like a dork in front of someone we want to impress. We’ve ALL done it. There’s a reason why the video where I introduced you to your Dork Goblin – aka the spirit that comes down to possess you when you’re speaking to someone you want to impress, and makes you act the opposite of how…

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Eight Things I Learned From Going Naked Camping

We sat in the car, giggling.
“We’re not even allowed to walk in the car park with our clothes on!” my friend said.
“Really? Really?? Hang on – I can see some people on the patio. They’re CLOTHED!!” I was outraged. Or maybe just super-nervous.

She looked over. “Not all of them are. Come on”
She started whipping off her pants and t shirt, and I did the same.
“I’m going to wear a hat,” she said.
“I don’t have one!” I wailed. “I’m going to wear my back pack. At least then I can fiddle with the straps.”

Finally, we got out of the car…

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