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

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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How To Tell Great Stories — the MOST important thing you need to know!

If you want to be good at telling stories, there’s ONE thing you need to know above all else, and it’s what I talk about in this video.

Also, I dress up as Rocky, a hacky Parisian tourist and as everyone in The Graduate. So if you’d like to see (no exaggeration) the MOST IMPORTANT VIDEO I’VE EVER MADE , you’re in luck! Click on the play button here or read the transcript below!

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How to rescue a very public disaster (using my favourite psych fact)

Standing in the booth, looking out at the ten people awkwardly dancing in a space that was built for 400, I felt sick.

I’m about to tell you one of the most important pieces of information I know. Then I’m going to tell you the rest of that story in order to prove it’s true and to help you hold it in your brain (because that’s what storytelling does!).

Here’s the fact:

The most important parts of any talk, blog, presentation or podcast is…

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When I’m feeling desperate about life, this is where I go

When I feel desperate, there are a few places online where I go looking.

I’m often not quite sure what I’m looking for because I’m often not exactly sure why I feel desperate, just that I’m in an emotional funk and I need someone to throw me a life raft. I feel certain that, if I read the right combination of words, the solution to everything in my life that feels confusing or unsure or uncomfortable will materialize in front of me, like a bonus in an 80s computer game.

Sometimes, I’ll scroll aimlessly through Facebook or Instagram. Sometimes, I’ll find people I know on Twitter. But usually, I end up at Heather Havrilesky’s Ask Polly.

Ask Polly (which I once wrote a blog about, here) is a long-form advice column. You may know that I have a mild fixation with the genre — it’s why I started running Yes Yes Questions, my own, quarterly live advice column. But Heather Havrilesky’s is like nothing I’ve ever encountered before, mostly because in almost every letter she responds to, she does a magic trick on my brain.

Pretty much every week, I read the latest letter and think, Well, that sounds hard for you, Stranger Who Wrote To Heather, but I can’t relate to your problem at all. I will read Heather’s reply because I like her writing so much. But there’s no way her advice will apply to anything I have going on.”

But then — half way through the response, I’m always like,

HEATHER HAVRILESKY ARE YOU IN MY HOUSE RIGHT NOW????

Because how else could she possibly know eXACTly what I’m going through in my life at this exact moment???

The best part is, I know that this is a common experience, but not a universal one. I know it’s common, because HH has been writing Ask Polly for almost eight years, so it must be pretty popular. But I also know it’s not universal, because people are not that much the same. But Heather’s people are. People like me. People who read every single new column that comes out (and several back issues). And that makes me feel both seen and a bit special.

This is the alchemy that happens when you’re…

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4 questions to ask yourself before you speak on stage

(AKA a resource I send to clients and potential clients that I never thought I’d share publicly but here we are :))

Glaring at her face on the video call, I stuck my bottom lip out.

“I don’t know,” I mumbled petulantly. “Do I even have to think about that?”

Michelle smiled warmly back at me. “You know you do,” she said. And she was right. I groaned.

When I found out that a long-time daydream of doing the closing keynote at Portland’s World Domination Summit was coming true, I knew I needed help. I coach speakers all the time, but writing my own talk felt like trying to cut my own hair without a mirror. I needed help. And I knew Michelle Barry Franco was the person to help me. What I didn’t know was…

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Stop putting this in your stories. Just stop. ( + YYQ11 review!)

Two things! The first is what I’m going on about in the subject line. I went on my friend Matthew Kimberley’s podcast (after guests he’s had like John Lee Dumas, Amy Landino, Laura Belgray and Todd Herman) to talk about storytelling — but we ended up covering something I never have before:

What you should NEVER have in your stories. And, it turns out, I…

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How to: juggle work/home life; get readers to comment; decide if you should start a podcast – YYQ 10 Review

Written below is a ton of free advice in my latest blog — but in case you don’t have any of those particular questions yourself, Monday, April 6th you can ask me YOUR VERY OWN question! At 2pm ET. It’s Yes Yes Questions, my free, no-strings Live Advice Column.

you can read a review of the last one or listen to it below. The questions asked in that episode:

1. How do I juggle my work/home life, while being someone who works from home?
2. How do I pitch the media to find people who can actually afford my prices?
3. How do I get through all the material of online courses without losing my mind?
4. How do I cope when my clients stop working with me, but I know I could help them if they continued?
5. How do I get comfortable on video?
6. How do I get people to sign up for my list after I do a Facebook Live?
7. How do I get people to engage with my blogs and videos at all?
8. How do I scale as a service-based business if I have to be there to do the work?
9. Should I start a podcast?
10. That’s it. I just hate an un-even numbered list.

Questions 1. How do I juggle my work/ home life, while being someone who works from home?

I work from home and find it incredibly difficult to draw a line in my day and allow myself to enjoy my evenings and live in the moment. I am also working at nurturing a romantic relationship and maintaining friendships and family bonds and it is a lot to juggle. Any advice on this topic would be very much appreciated!

(i) Have set working times. In advance, tell yourself what time you are going to start work every day, what time you’ll end work and when you’ll have lunch.

(ii) Listen to

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I quote this sentence to people at LEAST once a day (as first said by the brilliant Liz Scully)

I’m about to share with you my favourite thing Liz Scully ever said to me.

Context: do you ever get that thing where you’re REALLY good at teaching people how to do something — but you’re horrible at doing it yourself?

If you’ve been reading these emails recently, you’ll know I’m a bit obsessed with making sure people who have a business or a blog or an ANYTHING YOU WANT PEOPLE TO ENGAGE WITH know the answer to this question:

What is the problem that you solve for your customers?

And I was talking about it with my friend Liz Scully from Rethink Central. If you’re not already familiar with her, she is one of the smartest and funniest people I know and — as you’ll hear in a minute — one of the most articulate.

She and I were on a call recently talking about my obsession with how not enough people think about the answer to that above question, when I suddenly asked, “But Liz… what’s MY answer to it??”

She said, “You help people who don’t know how to make their clients feel seen. You show them how to tell stories and write sales pages that make their clients go, ‘Oh, you SEE me! You understand me!’.

But in that moment, I suddenly wasn’t sure why that mattered. And so I asked her. And her answer is one of my favourite things I’ve ever heard. I’ve probably quoted her 20 times since. Because Liz is very gracious — and because, by total coincidence, we happened to be recording the call (to capture an earlier brainstorm) — she has said it’s ok for me to share the video from that exact conversation.

As you’ll see (from my terrible posture), neither of us were anticipating this being made public. But I really, really wanted to share with you the exact way she first said what she said. Here (2 mins long):

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Almost certainly the most embarrassing thing I’ve ever shared online.

The first time I met Jenny Shih, I was really disappointed.

Not in her. In myself.

A few months beforehand, I’d decided to start my own coaching business. I’d never really heard of coaching before, but as soon as I did I thought, This sounds like what I’ve been doing for free my whole life. I could get PAID for this?

Thinking about what I’d helped people with before, I picked the niche of teaching networking. In my past life, that was what I’d teach 21 year olds who wanted to get into radio, and people had started suggesting to me that other people (who had more money than 21 year olds wanting to get into radio)(which is to say, ANY MONEY) would pay for this service.

I’d been writing a blog for a few months (you can still see most of it by clicking here and people had been saying nice things about it. But I still hadn’t made a cent from the business and had no idea what I was doing.

So when Jenny Shih — who’s free content about how to build your online business I’d been DEVOURING — said she was opening up a few one-off coaching spots, I knew I needed her help. I was excited and terrified.

I was pretty certain that I was going to get on that call, and that Jenny would say something like,

“You know, Marsha, I don’t really have a lot more to add. You’re amazing. I’ve worked with a lot of people who are new to this, but you’re the best I’ve ever seen — you’re a natural! Let me send you over some clients who’ll pay you vast amounts of money for your wisdom.”

I’m not even totally kidding.

So, we get to the call. And here’s what Jenny says,

“No one is going to spend you money, unless…

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Sometimes I shoot myself in the foot because it’s the right thing to do: A Tragedy by YYM

Standing in the wings, I looked out at the crowd and felt a rush going from my size 2, Mary Jane shoes, all the way up to the pony tail my mum had done for me that morning.

I was eight years old, and about to have my moment.

It was my brownie group’s Christmas show. I was part of an ensemble piece — but knew everyone would be looking mostly at me. We were going to sing a song called Tails.

Tails Tails Tails, you can swing them high and low! You can wrap them ’round your middle, you can trail them in the snow!

It’s testament to…

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