The Lie All Grown Ups Tell Ourselves

There’s a lie we all tell ourselves.

Everyone does it.

No lies just love tatt

And, when you finally discover the truth, it’s a triple-whammy;

you encounter shock and disappointment, on top of what is already an unpleasant experience.

Here’s a secret fact about me:

 I don’t have a driving license.

Wait! I’m not just showing off. Stay with me.


Getting in my own way

When I was in my mid-twenties, I took some lessons. I actually learned how to drive pretty well.
But I couldn’t even try and get a license until I’d taken the written theory test.

I bought all the books, but when I sat down to study them, a strange thing happened:

I couldn’t do it.

Not because I wasn’t capable, but because something deep inside of me resisted.

Some angry part of my brain was saying,

Excuse me, Marsha. But YOU PROMISED ME that the MOMENT we graduated, we WOULDN’T have to do ANY MORE HOMEWORK

 and refused to study.

 I decided to drop it. I still don’t have a license.


Other places homework caught up with me

That wasn’t the end.

As soon as I started trying to get a job as a radio host, old angry-brain came back.
Sat at my computer one morning, I stared at an empty screen, willing the words to come to me.

At midday, I looked over what I’d written.


“Dear Mr Ashton”, it said.

Below that, a world of blank space.

Great work, Marsha.
That’s really going to catch the eye of the man you hope will employ you.


This felt worse than geography coursework. At least with that I had text books to consult.

But when you’re trying to get in touch with someone you admire

  • someone who can help further your career
  • someone whom you just know you would be an asset to, if only you could find a way to articulate it

                              – there’s no text book.

 After another couple of hours, I had this:

“I am writing to you in the sincere hope that you might condescend to consider listening to my radio demo”


“Sincere”? “Condescend”??


I knew I was writing nonsense.

I knew it needed to be better.


But I also knew that Mr Ashton – Andy Ashton, then-Program Controller of Xfm, the radio station I longed with all my bones to work for – got hundreds, if not thousands of emails like this every day.

How on earth was mine going to stand out??


What actually happened

Here’s the kicker: it didn’t stand out.

I don’t know if I even sent it.

Certainly, even if I did, it had the same result as the dozens of other emails I’d sent – in desperation – out to other program controllers:



Just whatever the same email was at the top of my inbox when I’d last refreshed it.

And the 100 times I’d refreshed it before.

Ignore me and sea

As anyone who’s had dating adventures knows,

silence is WORSE than rejection

(Tweet that here!)


At least with rejection, you know what to do next. (ie move on and try and put it behind you)


With silence, it’s so ambiguous.

Did they even get the email? Did they get it and hate it?

Should I send it again? Should I add any information, or maybe subtract some?

Where’s my text book???


How I can help with all this

I can’t offer you a text book.

But what I can do, is give you some pointers on what to say when you’re trying to “cold” contact someone you feel warmly towards.

Over the next few of blog posts, you’ll learn some of the lessons and strategies I found through years of trial and error, and some great teachers.

Strategies that eventually DID catch the eye (and ear) of Andy Ashton, one my most helpful mentors and the best boss I’ve ever had, at a job I adored and was very successful in. 


If you can’t wait

and/or you want a full tailored service, where I help you out with every aspect of  having the person you admire sit up and take notice of you –

then you can find out more about Grab Their Attention,

my intensive session to make this happen for you,

by clicking HERE.


Over To You

In the meantime, what do you do when you get “emailer’s block”?

Do you have any tricks for pushing through?


Let me know in the comments below, or by clicking HERE.


Thanks for reading.
If you know anyone who thinks they hate networking, and would benefit from some of the ideas in this blog, you can share it with them by clicking on one of the round buttons below, or hanging out over on the left.

You rule,

xx (Yes Yes) Marsha



PPS I really would love to show you how to get to know your heroes!


Click here to find out more about how I can help!


PPS In the mailer this week, I told the Yes Yes Marsha Mailer Family about the Hollywood A-lister I was hanging out with last week.

Want to know my best-ever client secret – and get even more advice, tips, plus stories that I won’t put on the internet? Come and join the Yes Yes Family – it’s free! Just pop your details in below:

Photo credits: soundlessfall, Pink Sherbet Photography, astanita, Fire At Will [Photography] all via Compfight cc


  • Alejandra Ruani

    Reply Reply September 14, 2013

    Silence is worse than rejection when it comes to networking is huge.

    As Tim Ferriss said in the four hour work week: “success is measure by the number of uncomfortable conversions you are willing to have”

    Curious about your “PS” – looking forward on some tips to reaching out to heroes whilst reducing the rejection rate :-)


    • Marsha (Yes Yes Marsha)

      Marsha Shandur

      Reply Reply September 15, 2013

      Thanks, Alejandra!
      It’s true that you need to push through some things!

  • Nathalie

    Reply Reply September 14, 2013

    Hi Marsha, thanks for the really funny post, I love your self-irony! :-) I always go out running with my dogs or start tapping when I need to “unblock” myself and it always works. But I’ll definitely follow your posts to find out what does the trick for you :-).

  • Mona Lisa Ondevilla

    Reply Reply September 14, 2013

    I’m totally looking forward to your series because I could def. use some more ways to warm cold calls up! I always send a little bit of love before I send each email. Makes me feel better if I get nervous to press “send.” And something I’ve learned is to be OK with both silence and rejection, to just go for it. I’m happy I found your blog!

    • Marsha (Yes Yes Marsha)

      Marsha Shandur

      Reply Reply September 15, 2013

      These are both GREAT ideas, Mona Lisa! I especially am into sending the little bit of love – replace your nervousness with a good feeling!

  • Shana

    Reply Reply September 14, 2013

    So true. It’s easier to get a rejection than nothing at all. The whole email writers block can be such a hassle. When it hits I write the email as if I were writing to a friend, abbreviations, slang and all. Then I read through it a couple of times and make tweaks depending on who the actual recipient is. It seems to help take the pressure off that way. As always, Marsha, great post!!

    • Marsha (Yes Yes Marsha)

      Marsha Shandur

      Reply Reply September 15, 2013

      Great tip, Shana! I’m totally going to try that next time!

  • Melissa Burkheimer

    Reply Reply September 15, 2013

    My trick for pushing through? Remembering that people are people. Not celebrities. They’re no important than me and I should just be myself.

    • Marsha (Yes Yes Marsha)

      Marsha Shandur

      Reply Reply September 16, 2013

      Yes Melissa!

      It’s SO EASY to put people on a pedestal and forget that they too are *just people*, reading their emails, just like us! Thank you!

  • sherrytrentini

    Reply Reply September 15, 2013

    I had the email freeze just the other day. Gratefully I went with the thought, “What would it feel like if I didn’t send the email?”, so I ripped off the bandaid and just went for it. I agree with the silence is worse than rejection; and know that had I not sent the email the silence would have been deafening.

    • Marsha (Yes Yes Marsha)

      Marsha Shandur

      Reply Reply September 16, 2013

      Sherry! I’m so happy you went for it and ripped off that band aid!

      It’s never as bad as you think it’s going to be, is it?

  • Sonja Keller

    Reply Reply September 16, 2013

    Hey Marsha, I love how you connect your negative self-talk to outcomes of writer’s block etc. I totally get what you’re saying lol. I never have writer’s blog when I’m writing about something I love, but when I have to translate that into an email to someone I find it much more difficult. I sometimes have to sit and psych myself up with what it is I’m passionate about and what I want to communicate before the words will come.

    • Marsha (Yes Yes Marsha)

      Marsha Shandur

      Reply Reply September 16, 2013

      Sonja – totally! Reminding yourself why you’re emailing them can seem obvious, but in the moment, it’s easy to forget that.

      Great tip, thanks!

  • Leah

    Reply Reply September 16, 2013

    Oh I have been there so many times! I am putting together an article and wanted to get some “big guys” to answer one question that I could use for quotes in the article. I went through a whole day of negative self-talk, that they definitely wouldn’t waste time answering my email, don’t care about a little one like me. But then I realized I have NOTHING to loose and worst case scenario they don’t respond. Definitely got the radio silence from some- but many responded and I was so delighted! Just have to remember that there is nothing to loose and that there are always more opportunities elsewhere if you get a negative (or no!) response.

    • Marsha (Yes Yes Marsha)

      Marsha Shandur

      Reply Reply September 16, 2013

      Leah, YES!!

      Something I tell my clients is,

      “If you don’t email them at all, what’s the result? No response.
      If you email them and you don’t respond, what’s the result? No response.
      You are no worse off!”

      So glad it worked for you, too!

  • Bern Leckie

    Reply Reply September 16, 2013

    Hi Marsha – long-time reader, first time commenter, love the show… A few things about email block, or writer’s block in general:

    1. NEED to write. Urgency is the best defence against procrastination, and pro writers with constant deadlines rarely get the block (or so JR Havlan says in his amazing podcast). What do you need to say right now? Just write that. Is there something the person you’re writing to needs to hear right now? Even better. I found myself writing to a hero on Saturday because of something I thought they needed to consider urgently – and heard back from them within the hour! Not a work gig type conversation, but I would bet that if I ever need to have one with them, it will go better now…

    2. If it’s not so urgent but it seems oh-so-sensitive (like contacting a prospective source of work), do a draft. As only you will ever see it, it doesn’t matter! Come back to it the next day, see how it looks. Pro tip: good second drafts are usually shorter than the first – it’s working out what needs to get written and taking the rest out…

    3. Be somewhere else. You’ll feel different about writing in a different environment, and now we can write on phones anywhere, going to a park or a cafe can be really helpful. I like my local Pret – nice atmosphere, buzzy without being too noisy, and I have a natural inclination to want to finish and leave not too long after taking one drink + snack upstairs – it’s not an all-day office. So that brings a little urgency, and hence the need to write comes into play again.

    Hope that helps!

    • Marsha (Yes Yes Marsha)

      Marsha Shandur

      Reply Reply September 16, 2013

      Bern! This is all wonderful and SO helpful, thank you so much!

      The urgency thing is *particularly genius. I have an accountability buddy, and I definitely find that any emails I have to report back to her about get done better than ones that need to go “At some point”.

      Also, “long-time reader, first time commenter, love the show” made me laugh out loud!

      • Bern Leckie

        Reply Reply September 16, 2013

        Ah – accountabilibuddies! Incredibly helpful and life changing. Yet a feared and misunderstood thing outside of groups of people who do it – worth a bit of blog coverage? I’ll look forward to reading your experiences!

  • Hanna

    Reply Reply September 16, 2013

    Over in my world it works like this: ANYTHING that has a deadline or a “must do” stamp on it – will get done last and MUCH agony and pain goes into it.. I’ve learnt how to trick myself into doing it.. never EVER tell myself that I SHOULD or HAVE TO.. it’s ALL about choice.. Even if I don’t actually have the freedom of choice – I can pretend I do (yup, telling myself a lie). I’ve accepted that if I want to get things done, the rebel in me must never, ever get triggered and I have to be one step ahead of him/her ;) Yes, I know. Crazy.

    • Marsha (Yes Yes Marsha)

      Marsha Shandur

      Reply Reply September 17, 2013

      Hanna – I love that you said this!!

      I did some work with the amazing Jill Farmer, who taught me that, actually – everything other than breathing is a CHOICE. You choose because the consequences of not doing it could be pretty dire, but it’s still a choice!
      As such, I now tell myself, “I choose to…” or even, “I get to…”.

      Love that you brought this up! Let’s quiet that rebel!

  • Silvia

    Reply Reply September 17, 2013

    Marsha, I’m tired of putting heroes on a pedestal. Yes they’re fabulous but so are we. Selena Soo the marketing PR maven had a line that I loved, “If you put people on a pedestal, they’re always looking down on you.” And I’m getting better at all the negative self talk that at times precedes writing to a hero or someone we don’t know but want to. I find that when I think about their work or what that means to me or what I’ve noticed about it I just write. Just the other day I read a book that is totally changing how I look at food. It so rocked my world that I didn’t even hesitate…I just wrote that email and guess what. She not only wrote back, but elicited my help. Loved this!

    • Marsha (Yes Yes Marsha)

      Marsha Shandur

      Reply Reply September 17, 2013

      Silvia, this is so great! You’re SO right about not putting people on a pedestal. As Melissa said, “people are people”!

      Congratulations on following your instincts on emailing that lady, and amazing that it paid off so well! Nice work!

  • Desiree East

    Reply Reply September 17, 2013

    Ugh. I totally agree in that ‘Silence is worse than rejection’ in any facet of life…Thanks for sharing your experiences!

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