If you feel like everyone else is doing their lives just a little bit better than you are, you may need this

It’s mid-April. Over a quarter of the year in. What goals did you have? Anywhere close? So much time has passed and you haven’t done nearly enough towards them, have you?

Did you even get around to making any goals?

I didn’t. I printed out my YearCompass, over several days in January and Feb I got about…

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One of the greatest moments of the last four years.

“I hear what you’re saying.”

He pressed his lips together, and squinted a little in suspicion. “But why? Isn’t that just Misery Porn?”

I was working with my friend Chris on a story he was going to tell at my live show. Chris (who I’ve written about before, here and here) is one of my favourite storytellers of all time, and I’d been excited to sit down with him.

The story is about him reading to his dying mother in hospital. He’d done a version of it at another storytelling show a few weeks before – and there, had played the whole thing for laughs.

As we sat down and talked through the story, I convinced him to pull in the sadness of the situation. To mire us in the grief that he felt, before the funny reveal comes.

Now, he was asking why.

One of the things…

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I used to be TERRIFIED of selling. These tips changed everything.

Getting to the end of Sally’s email, my heart sank. Well, I thought. That’s that, then. Time to give up.

I was a few months into starting my business, and my hopes for getting my second ever client seemed shot.

On the advice of my new business mentor, Kendrick Shope, I’d offered my (then, very small) mailing list the chance to have a “mini-session” with me: a free, 15 minute consult on Skype. I’d started working with Kendrick – famous for her skills as a Sales Coach – because, having spent my entire pre-entrepreneur life in jobs where people were always selling to me (as a radio DJ, and a music supervisor for hit TV shows) I had NO IDEA how I was supposed to sell anything to anyone.

The idea of selling utterly terrified me.

But Kendrick was changing that.

In a gentle way, she (virtually) took me by the hand and started teaching me the basics of non-icky sales – what she calls Authentic Selling (TM). Part of that, was doing free 15 minute calls, where I cold get to know potential clients, and add value to them before asking for anything in return.

The first call I’d done had gone BRILLIANTLY. Sally* was a coach – exactly the kind of client I loved working with – and we’d really clicked. During the 15 minutes, I felt like I gave her loads of helpful advice, and she seemed really keen to work with me.

Afterwards (again, on Kendrick’s advice), I’d sent a follow up email, reminding her of the tips she’d learned in our call and – the scary part for me – telling her how she could work with me. My prices were going up the following week (from $99 to $149!), so I reminded her of that too.

Then, that afternoon, she’d finally written back

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You’re ruining your best stories. Here’s how to stop (3/5 in the story series)

Kneeling on the floor next to her armchair, I lay my head in my Granny’s lap. As the thick wool of her skirt skritched against my cheek, she stroked my hair, and sang to me in Russian.

“Mne nekuda bolshe speshut!
Mne nekovo bolshe lyubit!
M’sheek, ni gani, loshadey”

Three years earlier, when I was 18, my…

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The ONE thing you must know, to tell powerful stories (1/5 in the story series)

The night that the doctor told us my granny was dying, my mum and I lay mattresses down on the floor of her room.

We wanted to be near her. For practical reasons, so that we’d be there if she woke up and needed us. But also for primal ones. We’re Russian. We have a strong herd instinct. It was the end, and we needed to be close. So we lay our mattresses down to sleep.

Except – I couldn’t sleep. I kept thinking, “What if …

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How to Combat Facebook Envy (and Save Lives)

We all walk around, all day every day, thinking that everyone else has their sh-t together.

We all think that everyone else has a normal background, and normal parents, and a normal, successful career and successful relationships.

Then we get on Facebook and it compounds it. “This person’s getting married!” “That person has a happy family with kids!” “this person doesn’t have kids and so they went on vacation to Costa Rica!” “That person’s making six figures in her business!” – and it just COMPOUNDS that feeling of, “Everyone else has their sh-t together but me”.

That feeling is shame. And what shame does, is builds this metal fortress around you, cutting you off from everyone else.

But then, someone…

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V quick tip to avoid p*ssing off someone who just helped you out

A move keeps being made by people I’ve just favours for, that makes me want to stop doing them favours.

Running True Stories Told Live, my live storytelling show, I get a lot of requests to be put in touch with this person and that person. Because I <3 getting people tell their stories, I help these people out. I give them email introductions - and what happens next, is what almost always happens, and what REALLY annoys me: I get sucked into the email chain between these two people. Here is a very quick and classy way to get around that:

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How my patronising altruism WILDLY benefitted me

Ordinarily, I wouldn’t publicly admit having had this thought process. It shows that I can sometimes be an egotistical dick. But I like the end of it so much that I want to tell you.

I come to you from the train I’m taking from St Catharines (no apostrophe) back to Toronto. Last night I ran a workshop – my third in a year – for Brock University, on Networking That’s Effective and Actually Fun, for their entrepreneurial students in their BioLinc incubator.

One of the things I teach the students was how important it is to add value to people, long before you ask for anything.

An amazing way to add value is to thank people for teachings you’ve enjoyed, being specific where you can. Another is offering to make…

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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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