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

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

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 this work. 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? Click to watch the video below (or scoot down for the not-as-good-but-there-for-you-if-you-need-it transcription):


(transcript is below)

Here’s the link to the Facebook Group for I Don’t Have My iSht Together Either:

Well, what did you think? Did that make you laugh? Was there one you could relate to? I would LOVE to know, in the comments below.

Thank you so much for reading! If you know someone who NEEDS to hear this message, you can share it either by using one of the round buttons below, or click HERE to share on Facebook. If you do share it publicly, please tag me! I’m @yesyesmarsha on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, and I’ll personally come and say hello and thanks!

You rule!

xx (Yes Yes) Marsha

PS come and join the I Don’t Have My iSht Together Facebook Group, here:

PPS want tips and advice on how to tell compelling stories, plus secrets that I won’t put on the internet? Come and join the Yes Yes Family! Pop your details in below. I’ll even throw in my best client secret — and it’s all FREE!

Begin Transcript

It’s a Tuesday morning. I wake up and stumble into the bathroom and switch on the light and as I catch sight of my reflection, I feel in the bottom of my stomach the dull thud of horror and disappointment.

I am a 41-year-old woman. Which means that about five years ago, my body just started off-roading. I start growing moles where I never had moles before and hairs where I never had hairs before. One of my toes now goes in a different direction from the other nine toes.

But something had happened that was brand new. I had a row of dark-blue varicose veins running along my jawline. And, while I understand that everybody is beautiful, this had never happened before. And that night, I had to go on stage and run a workshop.

And also, there was another emotion in there. Because, as much as I can intellectually understand that this is just my body doing its thing, when something like this happens, it feels like a personal failing. So in there as well was shame.


Then I thought, “You know what? I understand that we’re only as attractive and confident as we feel. It has nothing really to do with how we look. This new thing is not in a place where I have to see it as I move through the world. So I’m just going to pretend it’s not there.”

And as I reached to grab my toothbrush, I saw in the back of my left hand the names of two people I had to email that day, where the night before, I had clearly grabbed my blue pen, written them down, then smeared it across my face.

And I tell you that story not just to show you what a classy broad I am…

But because in six years of working with hundreds of storytellers across the world on their stories for online and onstage, I have come to understand this:

Pretty much all of us walk around all day every day thinking that everybody else has their isht together and I’m the only one that doesn’t.

Everybody else has a perfect relationship or a perfect career or a perfect family and I’m the only one that doesn’t.

Then, to cheer ourselves up, we go on Facebook.

And when you’re in that space, it can feel like an assault of people going,
“Oh, my relationship is amazing and we never have the same stupid fight,”
“My business just made six figures,”
“Mine made seven,”
“I have a perfect family,”
“I don’t have a family. So when I go on vacation, it’s actually relaxing.”

And it compounds that feeling. That feeling is shame. I’m the only one that doesn’t have it together. Everybody else does. It’s just me.

What shame does is cuts you off from everyone else. It’s impossible to feel shame and empathy at the same time. And lack of empathy is the root of all evil.


Then somebody tells a vulnerable story. And you think, “Oh, you don’t have your isht together either! Maybe then it’s OK if I don’t!”

Somebody does it in a room like this and you think, “Maybe nobody else has their isht together!!!” which is the truth and it connect us and it builds that empathy and it defeats evil.

As well as working with people on their stories, so they can put those vulnerable messages out there, I wanted to go one thing further.

So I started a thread on Facebook that is now a group called “I Don’t Have My iSht Together Either” where every week, everybody has to post at least one thing that they feel genuinely a bit ashamed of, that makes them feel like they don’t have their iSht together. For example:


That one was me.


So I wanted to bring this to WDS because my of favourite thing about that thread. I love the comments. I love the replies to the comments. Sometimes someone will post, “Last night for dinner, I had two Snickers bars and a can of Pepsi,” and somebody else will comment and say, “When you were a kid, this is the kind of dinner you DREAMED of! You are doing your eight-year-old self justice!”

But my favourite thing is not the comments, not the replies, but it’s that once every couple of weeks, I get an email from someone who says, “I never comment. I never reply. I don’t even like the posts. But I look forward to this every single week. Because I need to hear it.”

So I wanted to bring this to WDS. In my academy on Thursday, we had a board in the foyer and I handed out Post-its and I said to people, “Write down anonymously your I-don’t-have-my-isht-together statement.”

But what happened – partly because it’s anonymous but honestly because it’s WDS — is that you guys went deep. At first I freaked out. I was like, “Oh no! I didn’t explain it properly!”

But then one by one, people have been coming up to me since and saying, “You know, I looked at that board and I saw someone say something that I didn’t know anybody else thought and it made me feel so much better.”

So we’ve decided to have a board here in the foyer. When you go down during the breaks for the whole of the rest of the weekend, down the back near the left, you’re going to see three boards. They’re the “I don’t have my isht together” boards and you can go and write your own one and post it up on there.

But I thought you might be sitting there being like, “OK. Well, I don’t have my isht together and probably you guys don’t. But the speakers on the stage, for sure you guys do.” So I thought that I would canvass some of them.

That’s Paula Pant.


Adam Valen Levinson.


That’s our Jolie Guillebeau

Ryan Holiday.


Lindsay Murphy.

But these guys went deep too.


That’s Cassie De Pecol.

Geraldine DeRuiter.

You guys want one more?

[Audience]: Yes!


Chris Guillebeau.

So what I want you to do is during the break, go down there. If you feel moved to, write one on a Post-it. Stick it up. Maybe take a photo. If you want to put it on social media, tag it with the WDS tag. You can tag it with the “I don’t have my isht together” tag as well. I’m @yesyesmarsha if you want to tag me.

But the one thing I would like you to do most is take a photo just of somewhere on the board and keep it in a place in your phone where you can get to it easily and next time you’re feeling like a failure, next time you’re feeling like you’re the only one, look at that photo and remember:

Nobody else has their isht together either. You’re doing just fine.



Here’s the link to the Facebook Group for I Don’t Have My iSht Together Either:

So, non-video-watcher, that was my talk! Thoughts? Let me know in the comments below! And if you know anyone who really needs to hear this right now, you can share it either by using one of the round buttons below, or click HERE to share on Facebook.

You rule!

PS you can join the Facebook group here:

PPS want quality advice on how to tell compelling stories — plus things I won’t put on the internet — free in your inbox every week? Come and join the Yes Yes Family! I’ll throw in my #1 Storytelling tip for free. Just pop your details in here:


  • Susan Stein

    Reply Reply August 22, 2018

    MARSHA!!! YES!!! YES!!! Long time listener first time caller. I met you at WDS 2014 (I think) and went to your storytelling breakout session. I knew then you were so different, yet so one of us. Someone who knows her calling and is just finding ways to put it out there and help people. And now, you have really hit on something big. I have had what they used to call an “inferiority complex” my entire life. Shy, small, inconspicuous except to schoolyard bullies. Straight A’s didn’t make me good enough. Nothing ever did.

    Fast forward to today. The director of my school fired me last month based on ridiculous hearsay (people want to believe what they want to believe), so I just started my own business, something I have felt called to do for a few years. Now I am really putting myself out there for rejection! I feel great about the decision but those “I’m the only one who doesn’t have my isht together” feelings are coming in full force. It’s harder than I thought, but there are daily victories to celebrate.

    I couldn’t make it to WDS this year, but I can’t begin to tell you how much this talk has impacted me. I cried here at my desk. And I would have cried even more had I been there. That’s me, the person who thinks everyone else’s life is way better than mine. The one who feels like an imposter. The one who wonders what will become of herself.

    And it turns out everyone is that way too. WOW.

    • Susan! HOLY!

      This comment just made ME cry!

      Going into entrepreneurship is both the worst and BEST thing for your imposter-feeling self. She will be faced with that over and over again — AND she’ll start to learn that this is a part of it. What my friend and mentor Jonathan Fields calls The Thrash.

      But the beauty is that, whatever you’re doing, there will always be someone slightly behind you who needs to know what you know, whom you can help. And you know what help they need, because you used to BE them!

      Well done on taking this exciting and terrifying leap! Good luck riding the feels (and do come and join the group so you know you’re NOT ALONE!)

      Thanks so much for telling me what impact this had on you, means a ton.


      PS as a former radio DJ, “Long time listener first time caller” made me happy to my BONES :)

  • Janna

    Reply Reply August 23, 2018

    Nikki Elledge-Brown posted your talk in her Facebook group and I know she always posts great stuff so I watched it.

    OMG. I think I kinda love you.

    And now I’m sitting here on my bed- wearing nothing but a towel on my head- thinking to myself, “I HAVE TO WORK WITH HER!!!!!!!!!”.

    I have to run to 4 back-to-back calls but you bet your booty I’ll be chatting with you soon.

    You rock. Seriously. I can’t rave about you enough.

    • Janna!

      What words! And to be sent here from NEB is *quite the accolade.

      Let’s chat! Hope your calls went well :) :)

  • Rita W.

    Reply Reply September 6, 2018

    Thanks so much for having the transcript available For those of us eating lunch at our desks it’s a less obvious way of enjoying your wise and funny words-no need to hide any earbuds :o)

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