“If I died, no one would notice for 3 days”

Eleven years ago, on a Tuesday night in North-East London, I was running along small path by a big body of water when, in the middle of my torso, I started to feel sinking dread.

What was I thinking??

Even though I was in the city, all I could hear were a few birds and the wind in the reeds. The sun was going down. And I was starting to worry…

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If the “END OF THE DECADE LET’S REVIEW AND PLAN!!” messages are bumming you out

this picture PLEASES MY SOUL

This one might not apply to you. Or it might land right where you need it to.

You know everyone online at the moment is all, “OMG END OF A DECADE LET’S REVIEW THE LAST AND MAKE GOALS FOR THE NEXT!!!”?

If you love that stuff — as I have sometimes (and as my pile of completed yearcompasses will prove) — then awesome. Get on with your bad self.

But if, every time you read something like that, it makes your stomach tighten a little…

– maybe because you don’t think you have time to do that
– maybe because you don’t feel you achieved enough or have changed enough in ten years
– maybe because you’re currently in survival mode and have zero capacity for reflection or planning

…then I just want to remind you that…

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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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Nobody Else Has Their iSht Together Either. You’re Doing Just Fine.

After years of working with hundreds of storytellers, I figured out something essential:

The ways you feel like you fall short? That feeling you have that everyone else has their iSht together, and only you don’t?

You’re not alone.

In fact, E-V-E-R-Y-B-O-D-Y feels that way.

Below (video and transcription) is my World Domination Summit mainstage (8 min) talk that goes into this, which is the reason behind why I do all the work I do.

It’s my attempt to counteract the epidemic we’re facing in our society, to give people a space to feel like they’re not alone in secretly feeling like a bit of a failure almost all of the time, and to DEFEAT EVIL.

Also, I tell a funny story about a weird thing on my face. Want to hear it?…

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If you feel like you want to disappear, this is for you.

There is a beauty in your presence

When I first read it, I didn’t even cry. I just pursed my lips and sharply breathed in. Then I took the tiny piece of paper that was attached to the tea bag string – and slid it into my pocket.   I always used to be angry at people who’d committed suicide. Furious, actually.…

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That Time I Cried On Stage (and how I dealt).

crying on stage

The first few times I practised the story, I totally fell apart. Alone in my apartment, I couldn’t speak for sobbing. A few months ago, I took a course with my storytelling teacher, Sage Tyrtle. Our final class was a live show, where we would each tell the story we’d been working on. Except… I…

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This is usually my favourite thing to do, but one woman RUINED IT.

empty plane

“Cabin crew seats for take-off, please,” said the tinny voice overhead.

I looked around, wide-eyed. I made my hand into a fist, then pumped it down.

“Yesssssssss,” I hissed, half-under my breath. This was a SCORE.

I leaned over to the other seats in my row – both empty – and grabbed their plastic-wrapped blankets. I tore them open, then lay them on top of the one that was already on my knees.

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This happens to me EVERY TIME I’m at a new event. And it’s so painful.

One Sunday morning at 8.25 in the morning, I sat at the back of an auditorium in Philadelphia, cursing myself. And then cursing everybody else: the woman I had just spoken to; my friend Laurie, who’d organised my ticket; and each person sat in front, behind, or to the side of me. Up until this…

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Having a rough week? And/or: Are a lady? This one’s for you

If you’re in a hurry, scan down, because that first 5 lines of Wild Geese might be something you really, really need to hear today.

Before then – a short, excellent story along with something that’ll make you want to punch the air and take to the streets. Seriously, it’s one of the best things you’ve ever heard.

It’s national poetry month, so here are two of my favourites.

1. A big hero of mine, one of the most charismatic, articulate and smart…

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