OK, buckle up, today's conversation on The Best of You podcast goes deep, and we both get really honest about own struggles. I could have talked with Mary for hours about how to get off the treadmill of perfecting and proving your worth—and start claiming the life you actually want.
You do not want to miss the end where we get into social media, the curse of comparison, and the approval chain from which no one is immune.
We touch on so much in this episode including:
1. The hidden fears that drive us to perfect and prove our way into belonging
2. If we let go of working to earn the approval of others, then what?
3. The moment Mary discovered that chasing gold stars was not leading her to what she actually wanted
4. The pitfalls and perils of social media
5. How to get out of comparison traps
6. The voice in our heads that keeps us running in circles
7. The real mark of emotional health (and it’s *not* never failing or never feeling hurt)
8. 3 questions to ask yourself as you stop chasing approval:
- If tomorrow it were all gone:
- What would you do differently?
- What would you roll up your sleeves and do the hard work of rebuilding again?
- What doesn’t seem to matter anymore? (Questions from Slow Growth Equals Strong Roots)
Connect with Mary at www.marymarantz.com/quiz
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Music by Andy Luiten
Sound editing by Kelly Kramarik
While Dr. Cook is a counselor, the content of this podcast and any of the products provided by Dr. Cook are not specific counseling advice nor are they a substitute for individual counseling. The content and products provided on this podcast are for informational purposes only.
- Grab a copy of Mary's new book Slow Growth Equals Strong Roots wherever books are sold
- Dirt, by Mary Marantz
- Boundaries for Your Soul, by Alison Cook and Kimberly Miller
- How to make daily commitments to yourself in The Best of You Chapter 6
- Episode 10: What are Limiting Beliefs and How do I Overcome Them?
- "Wherever you Go There You Are" is the title of a book by Jon Kabat-Zinn
- Over the Top: Moving from Survival to Stability from Stability to Success, from Success to Significance
- Alison on The Mary Marantz Show
The Best of You Podcast: The Seven Ps of Managing Perceptions
Episode 29 with Dr. Alison Cook and Guest Mary Marantz
Alison: Hey everyone. Welcome back to this week's episode of The Best of You Podcast. Where I am so excited to bring on my friend, Mary Marantz. So many of you wrote in to me and told me how much you loved our first episode. It was episode 10, where we talked about limiting beliefs.
Mary did come out of a really unusual set of circumstances. Essentially her first book, Dirt Chronicles, her story of growing up with literal dirt growing out of the ground, of her trailer in West Virginia.
Then finding her way out of some really limiting beliefs, all the way to Yale Law School and into this life that she now has as an author, as a photographer. Just doing all sorts of entrepreneurial, creative things. And at the end of our conversation, it felt like we were just getting started because we really just got through the first half, and it fits so well into this series, Mary, that we're doing. On the ways that we begin to manage the perceptions of other people, instead of really showing up as we really are.
And it's so interesting because you say, you write, so you've got a new book that came out this spring called Slow Growth Equals Strong Roots: Finding Grace, Freedom and Purpose in an Overachieving World. And it makes so much sense coming out of your story.
Because you describe your first book as a love letter to the girl in the trailer. This girl who broke out of all these beliefs, and really achieved well beyond what you would've been taught to believe was possible or even taught to believe you should strive for.
And, again, go back to episode 10 and listen to that story, there. It's just some powerful words of wisdom in there, about limiting beliefs. About the role of our parents in helping us form those and just the nuance of breaking out of those beliefs. But then you describe this next book as a love letter to the most put-together woman in the room. And you discuss, almost, this second half. I don't know if it's a second half or a third.
But, essentially, moving from those limiting beliefs into this achieving, perfecting for worth, and it makes so much sense. Because we bring all of who we are into and maybe we gain a different level of success, or maybe we get married, or maybe we have kids.
Whatever the thing is that you find yourself in this different place of life, that you always dreamed of and there you are. Well, guess what? You still, "Wherever you go, there you are." We're still there. So tell me a little bit about this second phase, or how would you describe this movement into this achievement or perfecting way of showing up in the world?
Mary: Yes, well, first of all, I'm so excited to be back. Both of us, I feel like, got to the end of the first conversation and we were like, "But wait, there's so much more to talk about." And I just love you and I love spending time with you.
So this is such a gift to get to come back and get to talk to your audience. Because there's a lot more to the story, you're right. So there is something called the Hero's Journey.
That is something that writers rely on to make sure they have a good narrative arc, a good character development arc.
And there is this part, it's usually, depending on the description of the hero's journey. It's usually something like step three, or four, or five, but it's called the point of no return. And it's when you have gone far enough out of your ordinary life.
So it's like status quo, inciting incident, something comes to shake up your world. You realize things have to change. You have to go on this quest. You meet a guide who's going to help you, and you start to face trials. And then you go far enough, that you've gone so far out into the world, it doesn't make sense for you to turn back. You have to complete the loop to get back home.
And, so, I feel like that was the journey for Dirt. I got to the end of Dirt and I thought I was done. I thought it was a story about making peace with your past. Going out into the world, the work God wanted to do in me and through these books was done. And ironically, Alison, there is an entry at the end of Dirt that I thought was like tying a bow on the story, that actually becomes the inciting incident.
The first entry in Slow Growth Equals Strong Roots. And it's called At Last, Exhausted. And it says, "At a certain point you stop running. You have spent a lifetime proving this running, going so far out into the world trying to prove your worth. That you finally collapse and surrender this death to old life before new hope can take flight."
But just like you were just saying about "Wherever you go, there you are." You realize, "No matter how hard I run, you can't outrun you." No matter how hard you run, you can outrun you.
And, so, that becomes what kicks off this second journey for me. That I lived every single page, every single minute of writing this book. The work was being done in me, of what it looks like to finally have tried so hard to achieve your way into worth. Have tried it from every single different angle.
That you finally go, "Okay, maybe this is never going to work. Maybe there's no amount of more that can ever make me stop feeling less-than. And there is no amount of achieving or gold stars that are going to make me feel safe.
And, so, you finally have to reach that point in order to do this work. Because I've been comparing it to entrepreneurs and burnout. I can tell entrepreneurs all day, every day, "You're going too fast, you're going too hard. You need to build in rests. You're going to burn out." But until they start to actually experience burnout themselves, they're not going to believe me.
And, so, the readers of this book, and everybody listening right now, there's got to be this tinge of, "Oh, dang, you're right, everything I'm surrounded by right now I once prayed for and it still doesn't feel like enough." If you're there, this conversation and this book are for you.
Alison: This just popped out at me right away because you write, at the beginning of this book. "This book was birthed from a place of deep exhaustion and daily desperation. A feeling that a life spent chasing the next dopamine hit of a gold star high. Only to feel more empty with every check mark that seemed to numb but never satisfy."
Mary: Yes, and that was my life.
Alison: Tell me about the moment when you began to. You're saying to me, to our listeners, to everyone who reads this. You're saying, "You've got to hit that moment." And, again, it may not be the rock bottom, we talk about rock bottom. It may not be the rock bottom of everything collapsed, failure, "I was forced." I hear, more in you, it's the rock bottom of "This isn't getting me the actual joy that I want."
Alison: Tell me about, for you, what were some moments? If it was one or if it were a couple of moments. When you began to realize, "This isn't working."
Mary: Yes, so I like to compare it to eating an entire bag of marshmallows and then wondering why you're still hungry. So you have all these sugary sweet hits that give you just a little bit of a high, a little bit of that energy boost. And then the satiation between marshmallows, that window of time of celebration, and, "That's enough, and I can rest, and I can pause and enjoy this." It gets shorter because you start to become ravenous like you are not being fed, you're not being nourished.
So you just keep eating more and you feel sick. It's like fire hose of consumption and there's this sick and tired of being sick and tired moment of life. And, so, there's a part in Dirt actually where I talk about, "What if success is where the real trouble began?" And the reason we flip the channel when the underdog movie gets to the end. We don't want to keep watching Rudy once he's gotten everything he wants. We don't continue on with the story with The Goonies once they save their houses, whatever, we're ready to move on to the next unlikely story.
Mary: But what if for that hero getting everything they ever thought that they wanted, becomes the moment they have to stand face-to-face in the mirror with their life because they got the thing and they still feel like a fraud.
This walking, waking imposter, they still have to lay their head down at night, in the cool cotton sheets, and scream out at this thin epidermis, "What are you possibly still screaming for? What is it that you want? Why do you still have such a thin skin? Why do you feel like a raw nerve ending, walking around in the world?" We have slathered on the marshmallow and it's still not enough.
Mary: So, for me, I think it was just reaching that point of, in Slow Growth I say, "I have more stacks of sweaters than there could ever possibly be enough versions of me to wear." Which I think will really get into our conversation, today, of all the different personas we put on to fit in.
And it's just reaching that point of, "I have all this stuff. I have all this stuff on my calendar. I have all these commitments. I have all these things that make me look busy and important, and none of it makes me feel worthy."
Alison: Mm. I think so much of what you're talking about is nuanced. And that's why, again, that hero's journey, that underdog story, it's like "Cheer, woo-hu-hu." And then comes the nuanced journey, which again is why I love the title Slow Growth Equals Strong Roots. It's not always that rock bottom story or that hero, that underdog story and, yet, it's the meat, and I think people are hungry for it.
Alison: Because, again, like I said, it can come in so many different forms. Where you've got the marriage, you've got the kids. I've been watching, you brought up some great examples, but I've been re-watching the show Mad Men.
Again, it's a dark show, but that depiction of the perfect wife, the perfect life, the perfect kids. Everything shined up on the outside and someone who is desperate on the inside. It didn't cover over all of his, essentially, the gist of that show is all of his pain from his youth did not get fixed by creating this picture perfect life on the outside.
Alison: But there are lots of moments of cracks. Describe, for me, I don't know, was it after Dirt came out? Was it after a big success, would you just notice? How did you become aware enough to recognize, "I've got to stop chasing the marshmallows?"
How do we begin to realize that? Because I think people when you're on the treadmill, you just keep running, you don't know. And then if you do realize, "Maybe I need to get off the treadmill, what do I do? What is the solution? What is the alternative?"
Mary: Yes, so there was a really powerful moment in my life, and I write about this in Dirt, and it was already planting the seeds for Slow Growth. And, so, I've worked with a coach, a goals coach, for six or seven years at this point. And her name is Kim, and she comes up to Connecticut from Georgia once or twice a year. And we do goal setting for the next year or half a year.
Her business is called the Whiteboard Room, and she had just laid out this big whiteboard on my white kitchen island. And my name was written really big in the center. And then she had written all around, on that particular board, what we were focusing on. All the goals, all the dreams that had come true in the previous year.
And, so, there were all these beautiful things surrounding my name. And she said, she finished and she was like, "Look at everything you did?" And I burst into tears and I said, "And I'm the unhappiest I've ever been."
She got kind of sassy, in her Kim way, and she was using her arms to hold, block all the things around everything except my name. And she said, "All right, we got to work on this. This has got to change. We got to strip this down then, and let's hide all of these things that you've accomplished. 'Who is Mary?'"
And she slammed on my kitchen island, "Who is Mary without all of these things." And I say in the book, "I know what she was going for. I know what she was hoping for me." I'm supposed to say "I'm a child of God, loved, and secure." And instead in that moment what I screamed was, "Nothing." And we both stared at each other in this shock, slack-jaw way, wide-eyed, and we realized, "Okay, this has to change."
Mary: And I think for somebody listening, if you're like, "I'm not an author. I haven't done this or that." I don't know, maybe there are these big dreams that I have in me, that if I did do them I would feel different and I would feel whole or complete. I think a good thing to pay attention to is that window of celebration. Has the time between when something good happens and when your brain goes, "Okay, what's next gotten shorter."
And, Alison, I am somebody who hosted an entire 12-city, we had a giant tour bus with the name plastered on the side, and our faces plastered on the side called, called The What's Next Tour with Justin and Mary. We, literally, went coast-to-coast telling people what's next.
And, so, talking about nuance, I don't want people to hear that you can't set and go after really big goals. I don't want people to hear that, that thing in your heart, you can't go a day without thinking about. You shouldn't go after it because a big part of Slow Growth is talking about the woman afraid to start.
Mary: But what it is saying is if you can just release this idea that checking more boxes, getting more gold stars, will suddenly make you walk into a room full of strangers and feel different.
If you can just release that. If you can start to do that inside job work, of liking yourself, and loving yourself, and spending time with God and saying, "How do you feel about me?" Because the world's never satisfied, that's for sure. I think, then, those other things will just hit different when they happen. They will be good but they won't be everything
Alison: So much there, I want to pause on that. I love the moment, and you write about Kim at the end of Slow Growth, and I want to come back to her because what a powerful voice in your life.
Alison: Just someone who really tells you the truth and someone with whom you can be honest. I think it's so interesting that in that moment you knew the quote-unquote right answer. A part of you is like, "I'm a beloved child of God." But that's not what you were feeling. And in this parts model that I write about in Boundaries for Your Soul, a deep tender part of you really believed, "Without this I am nothing."
It wasn't all of you, you know the truth, you know you're a child of God, and that's just very real, Mary. I think many people, and we can almost shame ourselves. "Well, I should know I'm a child of God and, so, therefore I shouldn't care about these longings and desires. Or this longing to feel worthy, or this longing to fit in, or this longing to achieve a goal." Whatever it is.
And we can go one of two ways with that. We can either just, like you said, not start because "I should just be content and not pursue anything." But really it's because it's too scary and vulnerable.
Alison: But then there's the vulnerability of, also, getting some of the things you want. And then realizing, "Oh, my gosh, this isn't making me happier. This isn't making me feel more connected. This isn't giving me that sense of belonging."
And you write in the book, this is so good, Mary. You write, "It takes a radical act of courage to see the miracle in the mundane." And then later you write, "I've watched women, like me, who were running so hard from failure, that they stumbled their way into what the world deemed success." And I think we could define success broadly. It could be that perfect family; it could be things Instagram is telling us. The perfect way of looking, the perfect way of being, the perfect job.
There's a lot of way, the perfect Christian, ministry leader. There's a million ways to define what that success is. And then you say, "And I watched them lose it. What do you do when you've spent 20 years of your life acquiring what the world says matters? Only in the process to lose the thing you can never get back, time?"
Mary: Yes, woof, I'm in my forties now. I turned 40 a couple of years ago and I'm sure everybody is somewhat different. But the 40s from everybody I've talked to are just a really amazing, unraveling time.
I think it's Brené Brown who has a great quote about this, or Liz Gilbert, one of the two. "And this is the time of your life when the world, the universe, takes you by the shoulders and shakes you and says, 'What are you waiting for? We've got to get out there and do the thing we were created to do.'"
And this great unraveling, this great softening, I think, to me, I picture a white-knuckled clenched fist.
You've reached a point of doing that for so long that the muscles just give away, and they're like, "Honestly, I can't do this anymore." And the palms open. And I think it's a metaphor for what happens in your whole life.
One of the great gifts of aging is you just don't have the energy to white-knuckle it the way you have before. To perfect, and perform, and be all the people, all the things to all the people. And so, you, also, life just happens to you.
And I talk about, in the book, I have friends we all started together in college. All of us had similar, hard stories and we were just out to be this girl on fire, change our entire family tree. And, in so many ways we have, to be clear. In so many ways our families are now healthier.
But we equated changing our family tree with outward success. And then you see marriages ending or houses. One of my favorite lines that came to me for Slow Growth. That I feel like was a gift from God, was talking about houses built right side up and then sold upside down, and the ultimate of bubbles bursting.
Which is just such a fun line and also heartbreaking because you live through a financial crisis. You live through a pandemic. You live through 9/11, whatever. You live through personal crises like that, and it just really starts to put in perspective, "I have a finite amount of energy and I have a finite amount of time.
And I've witnessed how much time was wasted worried about all this stuff that did not, ultimately, matter, and it's time to get serious about what does. And even that line, I want to say this before I forget. That line, the woman, the most put together woman in the room, that is in the manuscript, and that is what I wrote.
But by the time we got to marketing the book, we knew we had to make a really quick pivot. Because, ironically, this book is for the woman who is so relentlessly hard on herself. That she would never call herself the most put-together woman in the room, and that was always the point, of course, you don't.
But you work so hard to belong, to not even have a hair out of place. And you stumble into this place where everybody else sees you that way, in this perfection to belong. Where you try to be perfect to belong, ironically, becomes a stiff arm. A Heisman that keeps everybody else at arm's length from us. So I got so many opinions about all of this.
Alison: That's so good. I love what you're saying that we've done so well, at chasing our own tail, really, because really it's about us. It's not about other people. I mean the thing about managing perceptions, at the end of the day, is it's really trying to fill something inside of us. But we can do it so well that they believe the story we are telling.
Alison: And that is a lonely place to be. To realize, "I've created this perfect image of myself to try to avoid pain.
To try to avoid shame, to try to belong, so much so that other people believe it and don't come to my aid. Don't know how to help me. Don't know how to find me." And I think that's just so powerful. It reminds me, what you're saying, about the 40s of Carl Jung Hart talks about the afternoon of life.
Alison: The morning of life is where we're trying to get all the things and then we pivot toward the afternoon of life. And Eric Erikson also talks about, "We move into purpose and meaning into generativity."
And, so tell me a little about it. I mean there's an extreme form. There's that extreme form of what you're saying, where you've created this perfect delusion and the bubble pops. And, well, you have no choice because the bubble has popped and everybody sees that you're more vulnerable then. And, so, you find out, very quickly, who really were your real friends, there's that route.
Alison: But then there's this more subtle, again, more nuanced route of just growing in awareness, which is your story.
Alison: Growing in awareness of, "I've got the cart before the horse." I remember telling my husband this summer, at one point. I said, "I can just tell inside of me that the horse and the cart are dead-even."
Alison: And what I mean by that metaphor, is the trying to perform, and produce, and make sure everybody else is seeing me a certain way. It's dead-even with the real marrow, the real call to obedience, and you talk about that. You talk about that shift to really, it's about, "What is God asking me to do?"
When you get into that place. When you get into that place of going, "I'm aware that I'm perfecting and achieving." Whatever the thing is. "Perfecting, achieving, I'm creating this thing." We're going into the holidays, down to just how I'm approaching Thanksgiving decor, or how I'm approaching my kids, I've got to get it right. That white-knuckling you talk about.
Alison: We might even feel aware of that. And I just want everyone to hear that awareness is the very first step of just, "What if I could." But then let's talk, let's shift into talking about, again, what is that alternative? Because as you, so aptly, stated we're afraid to let go because we don't want to feel, but the alternative is nothingness.
Alison: The alternative is, "Everybody will hate me."
The alternative is "I'll be shamed." The alternative is whatever the narrative. So for the woman who's feeling that, "But what am I supposed to do? If I don't do it perfectly, what do I have?" Tell us a little bit about what do we have. What is the alternative route? And I've got a quote here, but I want to just hear it in your own words a little bit.
Mary: Yes, so the first thing that I'll say is a really cool parallel, that I was really excited about between these two books. Because I do very much consider Dirt and Slow Growth to be these book-in like a two-part volume, that very much go together. It's the rest of the story, as it were.
So in Dirt, I talk about the girl in the red cape escaping her way out of the deep dark woods. This big bad wolf ripping at her heels. Branches clawing and tearing at her clothes, leaving these breadcrumbs behind of this place called home.
She looks back over her shoulder breathless and wild-eyed, and finally at once, "I see it, I am the girl in the red cape, but I'm also the wolf. And that voice in my head telling me to run and not stop running, that it will never be safe to stop. That if you stop the boulder will roll back down the hill. You'll be back in the trailer, that voice is my own."
And, so, in Slow Growth we revisit that scene, this time from the perspective of the wolf. And it's talking about how, at a certain point, the big bad wolf is now afraid of us. Because it's saying that, essentially, we learned to twist the thorn in the paw of the wolf who is wounded. Because if we don't want to stop running, then it can't stop chasing us.
So we have to know the right pressure points. The right wounds to dig our thumbs into, to send it roaring back into fight or flight mode so that we can keep running. And I just want to read this part right here where it's talking about what you were saying. This idea of, "What do I do if I stop and I just disappear altogether?"
And I say, "We used that adrenaline. We became addicted to it. We feared we would forget how to move forward, altogether, if we didn't have something constantly clawing at our heels."
The greatest fear for those of us who are trying to break free from all this achieving for our worth is this right here. What if I do the work to get healed, and in doing so I lose all my drive?
What if I lose my edge?
What if I suddenly have to be content being ordinary, average?
What if I stop winning, stop being the girl who always comes through? And in doing so, I just disappear altogether. So we go from being the one being chased to the one twisting the thorns."
And, so, when I think about, "Okay, we're on board, Mary, let's give up achieving for our worth. Let's move out of this place of eating the marshmallows and being these dopamine, sugary, sweet highs."
There's a part in Dirt where I talk about treating God like a Pez dispensary. "Just keep the sugary sweets hits coming, God. I don't care that my faith is anemic and I'm actually starving."
Mary: So the way, for me, besides that exercise, "Who is Mary without all of this? When we peel back the layers. If you had to introduce yourself into a room without naming a single achievement, accomplishment, resume accolade, who would you be?" Would it be enough? Would it be enough to just have a witty sense of humor and an old soul?
Who would you be if you couldn't offer connections, or influence your audience, or the right introductions, or your help, or your service. If you wouldn't say yes, all the time, who would you be? What's left? That's the first step.
And then the second step, for me, that's been really huge. Especially when we think about that journey of this girl in the red cape, running from survival. And we think about the spectrum, I don't know maybe you know who created this.
There's this spectrum of survival to stability, to success, to significance. And I actually did a real talking about our episode, where I was talking about this concept of capacity. And if we only have a shot glass worth of capacity, of what we think we are capable of handling. What we think we can be trusted with.
Then anytime our lives get more, we will unintentionally self-sabotage and start back over at the beginning. And we have to learn to expand the capacity of what we think we can be trusted with. And I talked about our episode of you saying the way that we do that is to set these little commitments with ourselves, and keep them and show ourselves, "There is an adult who can be trusted, that adult is us." And that as we keep those small commitments, that capacity, for trust of ourselves, expands.
And, so, one of the things that I learned is that I got stuck in a very clear loop of survival to stability, to success. Unintentionally self-sabotaging and being back into survival because it felt familiar. And here's my big mic-drop moment of what God has really been teaching me lately, is that in that spectrum there is survival to stability, to success are connected.
Then there's this big, it was finished on the map, but it's not really their gap, where bridge should be from success to significance. And that leap we have to make over to the other side is the first three we focus on self, but we don't get to significance, until we're ready to focus outward to others, to who it might serve.
And until we make that change, we stay in that loop. We get to the top of the hill, we can't make that leap, and we roll back down to the beginning. And that's what I experienced for years. Got to the tippy top of success self-sabotage, and back to the beginning.
Alison: Yes, it's so good because at the end of the day, and this is so painful. I remember the first time, for me, it's more in the category of pleasing. There's subtle distinctions, we're loosely talking about the Seven Ps, but they're all loosely related.
It might be whether it's perfecting or achieving, for me, it was pleasing. And I will never forget the first moment, and this is getting at what you're saying. When someone said, "Oh, honey, that part of you isn't working for other people. That part of you is working for you."
I was like, "No, it's not. That part of me wants to make other people happy."
Alison: She was like, "Mm, yes, but mostly so that you feel good."
Alison: And that's what you're saying, I think with the achieving and the perfecting. When you're on that cycle. When it's really, ultimately, about, "I've got to prove myself it is going back." And, again, no shame, these are parts of us that have learned these jobs well.
This is how we learned to survive. We talk a lot about on there's no shame in any of this, but self-awareness can be hard. To realize, I think what you're saying, Mary, tell me if I'm right. But you're saying at the end of the day, what got you off that treadmill was beginning to ask a question, "How do I actually want to serve?"
Alison: "How do I want to connect this in to connect?" And, again, that gets to connecting to others. "I'm not trying to prove; I want to connect what God's done in me to another human.
Mary: Yes, for me, I think about that idea of why deep breathing moves you out of fight or flight, and into, tell me the proper terms. I feel like your audience is going to value the proper terms. What is it you move into the limbic brain?
Alison: I would say we move back into, there's a couple of words we talk about that sort of spirit-led self. That place inside where we're calm, curious, compassionate, engaged. The other word would be the window of tolerance. Where we're out of fight/flight and more operating out of that calm, creative space. Where we're connected to ourselves and connected to other people.
This is the place of authentic connection because we are connected to the best of who we are. You have gifts, talents to bring to the world. But we're not, as you said, adrenalized trying to prove ourselves or shutting down, trying to hide.
We're in that beautiful place, where I think the Holy Spirit comes to live inside of us. The Spirit-led self, the window of tolerance. Where from that place we take the best of who we are and engage the other people around us, and it becomes relational.
Mary: Yes, well, so the idea of taking the deep breaths shifting you out of fight or flight, is that if you were actually being chased by a woolly mammoth you wouldn't have time to breathe like that. So if your body's like, "Oh, we're taking deep breaths, everything must be fine." I find a lot of parallels in this spectrum of achieving, and everybody listen to me, when I say this part. Because this could be the light-bulb moment for somebody out there.
In Dirt I said, "Listen, it really started to bother me that people started to hear a story like trailer to Yale Law. And go, 'Okay, so the only side effect of this, air-quotes, 'Hard part of your story' was all of this success. They started to act like success was the only side effect.'"
And what I wanted people to know is how primal, visceral, survival, achieving becomes for those of us who have had that switch flipped, this mirror shattered, these broken shards we're trying to put back together. We do not know how to breathe if it goes too long without a win.
And, so, when we are in that loop of survival to stability, to success, they all feel like survival to us. We are self-preserving. We are trying to get the little girl to safety. And, so when we start to become focused outward on others, when our brains, that lizard brain is now screaming out for another win. Because your whole life is going to fall apart if you go another day without a win.
What it allows us to do is to go, "We can tell we're in safety because there's room for generosity. We're serving other people." One of my favorite lines in Slow Growth that says, "The use of my gifts in service to others, for Your ultimate glory for the rest of my life, that's it."
But that inner core part of me that knows that, and relaxes into that, is surrounded by this outer part of me that has access to the world. That is like one big raw nerve ending, screaming out for more, and it says, "That version of me is insatiable."
So the more I lean into significance. Which I think is defined as "Service to others. The use of your gifts in service to others." The more I go, "We're safe. Look at us, we're safe. We're in a place where we can actually pour out." And it makes my brain stop feeling like it's on fire for a while.
Alison: Wow, and so when you sink into that deep breath of safety. You feel, therefore then, the contentment, the satisfaction, the quote-unquote "Happiness" that you actually thought was in the achievement. But is actually it's not in just checking out the game. It's using all that God has given you in a way from a place of safety and a place of generosity to others.
Mary: Yes, because on some level it's like your brain going, "Hey, we're breathing deep therefore we must be safe."
It's like, "Hey, we're being generous. We're serving out. We're pouring out to other people, we must be safe." And I think that can be like an interesting loop where it's like which comes first the chicken or the egg" It's like, "Are you generous and then you feel contentment? Or do you need the contentment in order to be generous?" And I feel like, for me, they feed each other. It's like a flywheel.
Alison: That's beautiful. It reminds me, for those of you listening who've read Boundaries for Your Soul, the parts language for what you're saying. What it reminds me of is it's like the young tender part of you, the little red riding hood part of you that really was scared, and unsafe, and needing protection.
The more she actually feels safe, the more you breathe in and she's cared for inside of you. The more you bust out of that, the more of you comes online, your protectors relax. The achievement protectors relax, "Oh, wait a minute, there's nothing to prove here. We're safe. We got ourselves out of the forest."
Alison: So the protectors relax and then, all of a sudden, you have more of yourself more. It's not that you have less, and that's the thing. The protectors feel like the achievement part feels like, "Oh, we'll be nothing without this."
Alison: But instead when you're safe on the inside. When every part of you, those tender, young, vulnerable parts of you that have been through a lot become safe, become cared for. What happens is those protectors, again, I'll say it again, the perfecting achieving these are all protectors.
These are all ways that we're trying to protect ourselves, by managing perceptions and keeping us in belonging. They actually soften but they don't stop. They actually do their job better in a more harmonious, more generous. If you think of the Fruit of the Spirit, truly loving, kind, gentle way both with yourself and with others.
Mary: Yes, I love that. It reminds me of when people talk about the Enneagram, and they're talking about the achiever. The healthiest achievers, are the ones who are in a place of going out to help others achieve their goals.
Alison: Yes, that's right.
Mary: I love that so much, that's so good. And before we go any further, and I forget to say it, I have to tell you that, that part, I mean the whole book. But that part, in particular, in our conversation of The Best of You about re-parenting yourself and building trust in these little commitments is changing my life.
I think about it pretty much every single day of my life, pretty much. And I think any person who grew up with that chaos or a little bit of instability, and you feel like an adult with all this internal chaos, go get this book and read that part in particular.
Alison: Thank you. That means a lot to me because it does dovetail into everything you're saying. If that little young girl she's still there, you're doing that for her, really. You're showing her no, she doesn't go out in that room and perform, she needs you to care for her.
And then the whole system, as you said, the whole nervous system softens, relaxes, and then you're actually more. That's the paradox, you can show up more effectively for other people. I love how you talk about the raw nerve endings. That primal scream of, "Please" is coming from a young one inside, who didn't get the care that she needed.
Mary: Yes, and I feel like everybody listening, we should just sit here for a second and we should go, "When you're in a room with a bunch of people. Who are you drawn to the most? Is it the one who is willing to be vulnerable? Is willing to own who they are? Is willing to be like, 'Yes, I love this thing, I don't care if it's cool or not.'"
Or is it that untouchable? Is it that woman who does feel like the most put-together woman in the room. That you feel like you could never connect with, or relate to, or be enough of, something to sit with?
Well, ironically, most of those most put-together woman in the room. I mean, I've been that woman, where people assumed because I didn't grow up with a lot of nice clothes so I really love clothes now. Because of how I dress that I must be standoffish. I must be the Regina George in the room or whatever. And ironically I was just doing that to hopefully not get kicked out of the room myself.
Alison: But you wind up with a different form of isolation and alienation.
Mary: That's right.
Alison: And, so, we get into this how do we move toward authentic connection? I love what you're saying about it's first and foremost checking your own motives. And you talk about that in the book, "Before I do anything, checking my own motives. Am I doing this to try to win a gold star? Is the young one inside of me well cared for? So I'm doing this because I think it'd bring me joy and or I think God is calling me to it."
So there's that piece and then there I love what you just said. There's also this other piece of healthy vulnerability, of knowing when to be in the room as yourself and giving an honest response to somebody about how things are going.
Mary: Yes, and I honestly do think for, at least for me, that is something that has gotten easier with age. Simply because of that thing we talked about earlier. The ability to hold it all together, all the time, and think about what the perfect response would be. I just don't have that energy anymore, so you just let it fly.
And this really interesting, this is such a side note, but it's interesting. Where you mentioned, my husband and I are entrepreneurs, we have a bunch of different businesses. We have photography, education, and so on.
But one of the things we've been doing for the last year and a half is a Poshmark business. And I think there was a version of me earlier, in our career, where I wouldn't have wanted to talk about that.
I mean it's, it's a ton of fun and it's actually become a huge business for us. But it's not this glamorous cool, we're, literally, going through Goodwill. I'm in my pearls and my Yale hat going through the Goodwill bins.
I just reached this point where I was like, "You know what, I don't care and I don't feel like hiding this anymore, and I'm just going to start talking about it." And everybody loved it, I got so many responses to that.
I just think that's a really good example of you come off the pedestal. You come off the untouchable, being an author, and you are just doing this fun side hustle too. I don't know, it's a weird example and probably a story to share. But I feel like more people have reached back out to us, that I hadn't heard from in years. Talking about that, then talking about any amount about the books.
Alison: People read authenticity.
Alison: And, so, I could see your whole face light up talking about it. You're like, "This is just so much fun."
Mary: It really is, it's like a treasure hunt
Alison: Yes, I found that a little bit in my own life. In my own journey of making sure, again, the horse is leading the cart. Meaning the horse being, "What do I really want? What does God really want? How am I really connecting to other people versus my own desire to manage perceptions in whatever way."
That's really about and, again, no shame, but it's really about feeding some part of me that doesn't need the cotton candy, that doesn't need the marshmallows. That's my cue, "Oh, some part of me needs real nourishment. Needs me to show up for her." Because she's never going to get fed by all this.
So it's always my cue. It's like, "Okay, I've got to do the work, get her what she needs." And then getting down to business of, "Am I doing this because I love it and God put it on my heart." It is such a paradox.
You will find the people, and that's what I hear in your example, it's like, all of a sudden, people show up when you're real. But would you want to be in relationship with the people that aren't delighted and tickled, by the things that delight you.
Mary: Yes, I think that's such a great litmus test. Anybody who needs me to whittle off parts of me that are very natural, very authentic, very much make me light up, that's never going to be successful. It might work for a short time. But that relationship's never going to go the long haul.
And I think about, bringing it back to being an author for example, and there was for a little while, a conversation of like, "Can you talk about business and also be an author? And can you have these other ventures going on? Should we take business out of the podcast?" And it was like you know what, all of us as a team, were like "Actually anything that shaves off parts that makes Mary, Mary, that's never going to be a winning strategy."
And your people want all of you. Your people are craving for all of you to show up. And I think social media, for example, it's become all about, "You have to niche down. Your message has to be really specific. People have to know what they're going to get from you. If you want to go viral, if you want to become the expert in that thing, it's got to be the same thing, bam, bam."
And it might work as a strategy, but meanwhile you'll stop feeling like a human, that has all these interests besides that one thing. So, yes, that's my strategy moving forward. Anything that requires me to carve out, whittle out pieces of me in order to belong, it's not for me anyway.
Alison: Yes, we could talk about social media all day long because it is this, I've noticed it in myself. I'm like, "The first thing I got to do, is just stop paying attention there." Because it is, like you said, some of those strategies work and you lose your soul. At least you lose that joy, and that authenticity.
Just to close, I want to just touch on this idea of comparison. Again because the social media definitely brings that up. But even just in our day-to-day lives. I mean, I've talked about it on the podcast and I don't think it matters to anybody else. But I talk about the moment I made peace with the fact that, "Oh, I'm not a home decorator." If you come into my home and it's really warm, and it's like a patchwork quilt.
Mary: I love that.
Alison: I'm good with that. That was a way I was like, "I would be doing this to please other, so that I could not be shamed, or feel like I fit in." And, all of a sudden, it just occurred to me, "I don't enjoy the process, I'm not good at it. I would rather spend my time on other things."
And I started to own it and be like, "Oh." What you have when you come into my house, it's a beautiful patchwork quilt of. A lot of really interesting aspects of my life, there are a lot of it, and that brings me joy. And the minute I had peace with that, then other people, again, to your example are like, "Oh, this is so cool."
Alison: But prior to that I was apologizing. I was killing myself to try to get the house right so that I could have... And I was like, "This is just not working for me. It's not a gift that I have." And, simultaneously, what that does is it frees me to delight.
I'm the biggest fan, girl, like right now I can see your bookshelves behind you. And I'm like, "They're so pretty." It's become a very genuine like, "Oh, my gosh, I love to go and look at how..." Because you celebrate other people when you've made peace with yourself.
Alison: I'm no longer comparing because I'm good with myself. I'm good with myself on this category and, so, therefore then I can enjoy it, when I see other people really delighting in what they're good at.
Alison: And, so, I was just curious, so there's a couple of ways I think that can play out. But you do talk about, you say, "Comparison robs you of the permission to enjoy your own life."
Alison: And I just thought that was, in that one chapter there was a lot, but that one stood out to me. Because it's something I've struggled with and I think it's so true. And there's something about when we're comparing, we're managing perceptions.
Alison: We're trying to be all the things in a way that isn't true. Whereas when we just enjoy, like what you just said, I enjoy this new thing. I'm enjoying my own life. And maybe that means there's a few things that I'm not going to go after, even though other people might think I should, there's freedom in that. There's freedom to enjoy your own life, but there's also freedom to enjoy other people's choices.
Mary: Yes, a 100%. First of all, before I even forget it, I think talking about social media, there's a really interesting see change happening there. And I think it originated on TikTok, but I do think it's starting to spill over in Instagram. Where Instagram used to be the land of influencers and perfect everything.
I think what's really resonating now, especially with the younger generation, like the Gen Z folks in particular, is that own your quirky, weird, own your authenticity. It's the sort of Elyse Myers, "Let me just show up with my hair in every direction and tell you something quirky on my heart." People are loving that.
So that actually gives me a lot of hope. Because what we know, and it's been said 15 million times and it'll be now be 15 million and one, is that none of that that we have seen for years on social media is real. Like it was taken from the perfect angle, it was cropped.
There's that whole Fake Famous documentary, I haven't watched it, but I know what it's about. That they're faking being influencers basically. And they show the behind the scenes of how the photo was actually taken, to see if they can get it to work, and it's just like none of this is real.
And spending your day going, I'm talking about we can't get that time back and the clock is ticking, and the things we think matter won't be the things that we miss. We have to say, "What does the majority of my real life look like?"
Mary: "Am I getting anchored with my people? Am I getting anchored in my home?"
Mary: And then the other thing I will say about comparison and competing, and trying to perform, and be perfect is there's this really ironic thing that happens that we've experienced with our home.
So little backstory, to really make you understand this. I grew up in a trailer, dreamed, I would sketch daily of having the dream house. The blueprint, Who Dreamed of Being a Real House is an entry in Dirt, and I now have that house.
But Justin and I bought in 2009, bottom of the market and spent six months even making it habitable. It was in foreclosure, there was a flood, there was mold, there was mildew, it was a tear-down situation. But it's this beautiful 100-year-old house that we were able to salvage and 13 years in, it's really good now. And, so, now, we get the situation where when people come here, they only see the finished product.
Mary: They do not see the journey. They do not see what it took to get here. And there's this certain element of like, "Well, of course, your house is pretty for the holidays or whatever." And I'm like, "You do not know what this means to me, and what it took to get here." So I think just leaning into that curiosity. Whenever you feel yourself tempted to compare or wish what someone else had. Ask yourself, "What does it mean to them and what did it take to get there?"
Alison: I love that.
Alison: I love that, and that's the truth. That's what I mean by with some of my friends, and I go in and I'm like you. I would just delight with you knowing what it means.
Alison: Every home has a journey, I love that. That's a great caveat. I also really appreciate what you were saying about social media. Because I do think it might be fair to say that social media is the pinnacle of managing perceptions. It has been. It's all about image management.
Alison: And even to the point where if you can try to be vulnerable. Because that's what you're supposed to do, even though that's not really authentic. It's really is that sort of next level. I love where you say, "Before I add yet another check mark to an already stuff list, I ask myself, 'Am I doing it for me or am I doing it for them?'"
Alison: So that's right there. Whether it's the house, whether it's social media, whether it's achievement. Whether it's how you're showing up in a social gathering. "Am I doing it for me?" Meaning is this actually what feels aligned with who I am, with who God made me to be? Or "Am I doing it for them?"
Alison: You're not talking about service there. You're talking about managing perceptions. You're saying, "Am I doing this to get them to think of me in a certain way? Or am I doing this because I want to do this?" And then you say, "Am I doing it because I feel like it fulfills a purpose and a calling over my life?" So then we move into purpose.
Alison: "Okay, am I doing this because there's a greater purpose?"
"Am I doing it because I feel like God is asking me to, and I want to be obedient?" You touch on all the things. So we first have to sort out and I just think this is a great list. I'm going to put it in the show notes, and the page number from Slow Growth. But these are just great questions. "Am I doing it for me, does this align? Or am I doing it to try to win somebody's approval?"
Okay, then, "Does it fulfill a purpose? Is it something God is asking me to do? Is it aligning with the calling that I have or do I want to be obedient?" And then the flip side, the other column goes back to, "Am I doing it in the hopes that it will finally make me enough of something to sit at that same table. Where no one could be bothered to scoot down and make room for me, in the first place?"
Mary: Yes, and I think we all have those people.
Alison: I am keenly aware, and I bet you are too, Mary, of the people that still, and no matter how much I rationalize myself out, I still want their approval.
Mary: Mm-hmm, yes. There's a part in Slow Growth where I talk about an actual dream that I had. It wasn't like artistic license metaphor for the book. No, this was an actual stress dream I had. Where I am in a crowd and I'm chasing, I'm moving through the sea of people to try to get to an author that I looked up to.
Because in the dream, I had the belief that if I could just put Dirt in her hands. and she could just read it and see how good it was. Then she would tap me on the forehead and I would belong in this author world. And through the whole dream I'm just, perpetually, pushing and pushing, and I could never quite reach her.
And I sat straight up in bed for real, three in the morning that night. And when I'm writing about it, the sort of hit you in the face. Punch you in the gut realization was, "In all of that time pushing through the crowd, chasing her, did I ever once look back to see any of them."
They were just an obstacle between me and the person I was so desperately wanting to be seen by. And the realization I had is, "We're all so busy trying to be seen that we forget to see other people."
And I wrote an Instagram post about this that said, "Look both ways." The people you're looking at wishing they would look back and see you. If you could pause for a second to look the other direction, there's somebody right now who would give anything if you would see them.
And I've actually, this been my little social experiment, you can follow this all the way up the chain. The person you're looking at has somebody they're looking at they wish that, "Oh, they would give them the time of day." And they have somebody, and they have somebody.
And my theory is it goes all the way up to like Oprah, I don't know if Oprah has anybody. But I mean, you can just, literally, chase it all the way up. And that's the other thing I really want to say in this episode, is that desire to be seen, and to be known, and to be loved is not wrong.
Mary: We have that in us because there's a part of us that knows how it should have been. That knows the ultimate experience of humankind was always to be fully known, and seen, and loved, and in close communion and community with God.
And, so, we live in the separation, we live in this fallen world. And, so, that ache is there for a reason. And I just think there's a line in Slow Growth, another one of my favorites. It says, "This truth is dawning on us with each new day, and to be seen is to be known and to be known is to be loved."
And with raspy bated breath, we pull at these strings that are unraveling, "They love me, they love me not." And we're just like this daisy chain is unraveling in front of us. And, so, we spend our lives going, "They love me, they love me not."
And all along, they were never going to be the ones similar to the gold stars. We're never going to be enough more to make us stop feeling less-than. Other people are never going to be the ones to make us feel fully known.
Alison: It's so good. That is, again, another permutation of this if we're managing perceptions. I love that metaphor of the day, "It loves me, it loves me not. I love the vulnerability of that dream that you shared, "This person will finally give me that."
And I love also that we all have some version of that, whatever that may be. Only to find out again and again that really... And, again, it is that deepest, innermost, tenderest part of us that does need to be seen and belong, ultimately, with God. Ultimately with ourselves. Ultimately we get that a little bit from our safe people in life.
But the more and more I've done the work inside of me. That young girl, the more I teach her and show her that what she really wants is my undivided attention with God. Her Father's undivided attention and just delighting in her. The less she pulls me. The more she's cared for, the more I am free to enjoy and be excited, but I'm not putting a false hope on that.
Alison: Because I do think there's excitement when someone we've admired, sure. But it's not like that dream just so gets at that deepest longing of that little one. That really just needs the true nourishment, the true love, the true being seen, from the womb it's so primal. Again, no human being is ever going to completely take that all away.
Alison: But we can care for her. We can care for her inside of us.
Mary: Yes, what you're describing reminds me of a part in Slow Growth. So I think that we talked about this in part one of the episode. But just really, quickly, in Slow Growth, I introduced these five different versions. We moved from most put-together women in the room to the woman always performing because we can all resonate with that.
And when I talk about the tightrope walker, I say, "I have always wanted to be unshakeable. The Unsinkable Molly Brown." This version of a person who no matter what happens, when the hard things of life come, they are not rocked. And equally when the good things come it does not change them, they are who they are.
And it says me on the other hand, I have always been defined by the latest good or bad thing that has happened to me. This up and down of highlight reels. And it's much more articulate than that in the book. But that's the general idea is I've always wanted to be unshakeable, and instead it's like I am only as high or as low as what good thing has happened that day.
Alison: Yes, that's great awareness. But I love the image because I agree, I think that's what we want. There is that, "Yes, that was a bummer. Yes, it was a bummer and, also, I'm okay that was really fun and exciting and, also, I'm still just me."
And at the end of the day, to bring this full circle, it gets back to, "If all this gets taken away, I'm okay. I'm not nothing." That's what we're going for. When all this gets taken away, whatever it is, the achieving, the producing, it's like, "I'm good. I'm good with myself." And, again, it's not a spiritual bypassing. We talk a lot about, there is, I do believe that is the work of spiritual growth, which is why I love this Slow Growth Equals Strong Roots.
It is the fruit of deeply planting those roots in the vine, internally, with the spirit who lives within us, that is the fruit of that. But it is work, it's not magic. It doesn't just happen of "I'm okay. I'm okay in the good and in the bad."
I love that. I want to ask you. You asked a question, I want to turn it back on you as we close. If tomorrow it was all gone, what would you do differently? I think that's such a great question that you ask. If you're game, I'd be curious to see how you would answer it.
Mary: Yes, so the rest of that question that I think is also good for people to think about. It's like what would you roll up up your sleeves to do the hard work of rebuilding, and what doesn't really seem to matter that much anymore.
And, so, my answer would be I would, absolutely, get this house again. I would, absolutely, go through all 13 years that it's taken, and it's not done yet, let us be clear. But this home that we've built, the really cool backstory is that I grew up in a trailer that wreaked of mildew felt like it was a stain on my life.
And the reason, because God has a sense of humor, we were able to get this house is because it reeked of mildew. So it stands for a lot of things in my life, and also just what it has taught me about when things are built with character and integrity.
One of the reasons this house was able to stay standing, is that the materials they used, back then, to build in 1880 and 1920 were really solid wood 12 by 12 beams. Not any kind of composite board, which meant the mold didn't get into the substance of the wood. The bad stuff didn't really get in because of the character with which we were raised.
And, so, I would absolutely do that work again. I would absolutely build businesses. I would absolutely do those with Justin. I would absolutely do the incredibly hard, vulnerable, naked, open yourself up to criticism work of putting books out into the world, even when it is slow and hard.
I would let go of any dollar, or time, or second I spent that was really driven by impressing people. Because anytime we've gone wrong in our lives, it's by investing time or money in things just to impress people.
Alison: That's so good, Mary, I second all of that. That's just beautiful. That's it right there. What was true, what was good, what was beautiful, and you know it.
I just want to close asking people, today, I'm going to put a lot of these questions in the show notes. Go get Mary's book, Slow Growth Equals Strong Roots because there's just so much in it. But I love that question of what would you do differently? And then say that last question again.
Mary: If tomorrow it was all gone and you had to start over, what would you do differently? What would you roll up your sleeves and do the hard work to rebuild again, and what just doesn't really seem to matter anymore?
Alison: That's right. What would you do the hard work of doing again? Because it was hard but it was worth it, every step of the way, even though it was hard. And what would you not do? What would you let fall away?
I think that's a great question that just gets at, "How am I living authentically? How am I showing up in my real life? And what does not matter and what is only about trying to win approval, that is cotton candy is marshmallows, it does not satisfy at all. Thank you so much for your time. I'm going to ask you this question, you've answered it, but I'll give you one more chance. What is bringing out the best of you right now?
Mary: Mm, honestly, what's bringing out the best of me are those small commitments. Honestly, I am not blow and smoker or just saying the thing because I'm on the show. Truly daily, I am saying, "What does it look like to use this season to build character?"
"What does it look like to grow slow?" This is one of those hidden away seasons, for me, in between books. Where I feel like I'm being prepared for something and the preparation work is not easy. That like we're dealing with my junk, dealing with the stuff that is for impressing or whatever.
And what does it truly look like for me to become a really good steward of all of this, and to trust myself with this so that I do feel capable of handling more. Because I do feel like I've been in that loop of, "No, I don't really think I could do. I don't think I could handle this much more."
So I just go back to the beginning. So I'm doing that work to build self-trust in the shortest version. Self-trust through being a good steward, and it's not comfortable work, but it is such good work. Talking about unraveling in your 40s and all that.
I picture myself like the very malleable clay in a good way. Time has not dried out that clay. In fact it's leaning into being just wide open to the potter to work the clay into something useful. And I talk about, in Slow Growth, "He is making me into a vessel that can be filled up over and over again and can be poured out for others." Instead of just some monument to myself.
Alison: Well, I just want you to know I see the fruit of it, in your life. I see it online; I see the fruit of it. It's just funny, you start and I'm like, "Oh, there's Mary." You know what I mean? And it's beautiful, keep doing the work because we need you. We need your voice. I think we are hungry, culturally, for people who are doing that work.
Alison: So thank you for doing that work, Mary. Thank you for being someone who is so consistently doing that work and leading us. Tell people where to find you.
Mary: Yes, so the best way, honestly, the best thing to probably do out of this conversation and we talked about this in part one too. But we really started to talk about some of these characters. We have the Mass Grader, The Tightrope Walker, The Performer, like a ballerina on her toes, The Illusionist in the distance, and The Contortionist.
We have a quiz, it's a 60-second, minute or two tops, quiz you can take, and it will tell you not only which of the types of the woman always performing you are, but the places that are your strengths. The places you get stuck and how to move forward with that purpose, towards what you're being called to do that place of service to others.
So I would take the quiz, you can find that at marymarantz.com/quiz or achieverquiz.com, they'll both go to the same place. And then you'll be in the hub of marymarantz.com and you can find the show, the podcast. You can listen to Alison's episode on the Mary Marantz Show, all the different things there. And it's @marymarantz on Instagram, I think that's really the only social media place I hang out these days. So you can send me a DM if you liked this episode.
Alison: I love it. Thank you so much for your time. We love you here, and hopefully we look forward to seeing what's next. You've got a lot of great things in store.”
Mary: Yes, thanks so much.