This episode is a gold mine of rich, hopeful nuggets for anyone who has struggled to overcome limiting beliefs. My guest, Mary Marantz, is so gentle and thoughtful and wise as she reflects on the challenges of her childhood and the life she went on to create.
It’s a beautiful tribute to the power of “both—and.” We discuss these topics and more:
1. Different types of poverty
2. How the messages our parents give us and the desires of our own hearts can create painful inner conflict
3. The limiting beliefs we pick up without even realizing it—and how to break free from them
4. How to honor a parent while also disagreeing with them
5. The 10 scripts we all have to confront in our minds
6. The temptation—and the danger—of being the woman who always come through
You can become aware of the scripts in your mind that may be limiting your potential.
What happened to you is not your fault, but it is your responsibility to get healed and to not continue to put that on other people. —Mary Marantz
Question for Reflection:
Which of the 10 scripts Mary mentioned resonated with you the most?
Episode Ten: The Best of You Podcast 7th July 2022
Guest: Mary Marantz With Dr. Alison Cook
Alison: Hey, everyone, welcome back to this series on Real People Overcoming Real Problems. I am so excited about this series, these women that I have lined up to talk to you have so much wisdom. And today we're talking about it with my new friend Mary Marantz, about overcoming limiting beliefs.
Now, I became familiar with Mary with her first book, Dirt, which is an amazing book about her journey out of rural West Virginia. It's a beautiful book, and I was so excited when I realized I was going to get to meet her just a few months ago. I think I kind of like we were the first two people to meet at the airport. And I immediately dove in with about 20 million questions for you, Mary, you were so gracious.
Because I also had a story of leaving a very rural part of the country to go to New England, to go to college. We sort of had this shared experience different connotations to it, but a shared experience of a really leaving one world to kind of go into a different type of world. And, so I just had a bazillion questions for you, and I'm so excited to have you on the podcast today.
Mary is just a wealth of wisdom, of insight, just so many talents. A photographer, an entrepreneur, an author, her newest book, Slow Growth Equals Strong Roots just came out. So we're going to hear about that as well. Mary, thank you so much for being with me here today.
Mary: Oh, my gosh, that whole intro just reminds me of why you love people so well, and how you love people so well. I'm like why I felt instantly drawn to you in Arizona. I'm just so thankful to be here, so thanks for having me.
Alison: Well, this is one of the new perks, I'm finding, of a podcast. You had been a podcaster for a while, you're an amazing podcaster. These are some of my first guest interviews, and I'm realizing this is why it's so amazing because you get to connect on a deeper level. It's like, "Let's do it on the podcast."
Mary: Yeah, I feel like I am an introvert and I feel like this is an introvert dream because it's like deep conversations one-on-one for an hour. I love it.
Alison: Yes, I get to ask you about your life story, we're going to go there. Well, I'd like to start these interviews going back a little bit, and learning a little bit more about your journey. So your first book, Dirt, is about your journey. I had originally said your journey out of poverty. Now you had a little bit of an interesting angle on that word that I want to hear about. But you really grew up in pretty extreme circumstances, and then ended up in a very different place.
I want to go back in time to who you were, what your life was like at maybe your teenage self on the cusp of getting ready to be the first person, in your family, to go to college. To even maybe apply to college. Tell me a little bit about that part of your life.
Mary: Well, so let's start with that word, like you mentioned that word poverty, and why there is a complicated relationship with a word like that. Why I have a complicated relationship? Why I think a lot of people do? There's a few different angles that I just want to touch on briefly.
So for everybody listening, and you haven't met me, or this is the first time we're being introduced. You can actually see, if you search for the book dirt.com or if you just Google the book, the cover that comes up that is the actual trailer that I grew up in West Virginia. My husband, Justin, actually, took that photo the first time I took him home to meet my family.
What is interesting is that something I've come to learn about poverty is that there are a lot of different kinds of poverty in the world. You can have poverty of home which is what I would say. If I had any kind of poverty that's what I would say it was.
It was crumbling from when I was very little all the way through when I left after high school. A leaky roof, and the floors caving in, and there are mushrooms growing out of the floor, and we had stray animals who would just go inside. So there were a lot of different kinds of dirt as well. And, I think, you can also have something like, let's say, a poverty of food, where you have food insecurity.
I have a friend who grew up in a beautiful double-wide. Her home looks very pretty from the outside, but they were always worried where the next meal was going to come from. And then there's poverty of education, poverty of love, so there are a lot of different kinds of poverty. It's a very complex issue.
But it also gets even more complex when you add in something like the Appalachia that I grew up in, and the family I grew up in. Where there's a lot of pride and there's a very strong work ethic. And in our minds, you could not be in poverty if you were out working. If you were going out, using your hands to put food on the table for your family then do not associate that word poverty with us.
And, so, there's a lot of complications, telling a story where one of the things that was important for me in honoring my dad and honoring my family, was that I would be okay saying we didn't grow up with a lot.
Gosh, I even go in the book, I feel like you would love this part. We go back to even my mom talking about how they didn't even have running water and she said, "But we never went without, we were never in poverty." And that's not what is. And, so, there is this interesting identity issue that comes in. You can say we come from a rural. You didn't generally say "We come from a rural area." But like no, poverty and us, we won't accept that association.
So it's really interesting culturally, and it's been a real challenge as I've left that area. I've lived in Connecticut now for over 20 some years, where you can leave a place and go, "Well, maybe some of that really isn't normal." And this gets into our conversation about beliefs. Those things get into your brain about how you view things because of how you were raised, so it's interesting.
Alison: Yeah, just out of curiosity, your book trailer video for Dirt. Is that your actual, is that your dad in the video?
Mary: It is.
Alison: Okay, that's amazing. It's an amazing video, I'd encourage people to check it out. I do get what you're saying. Coming also from growing up in a very small, rural Wyoming or rural West Virginia, sort of, I guess, they go hand in hand. Very small town there's that pride and these words do mean different things to different people. So I appreciate that context.
What were some of the limiting beliefs? Now, I know some of these come in hindsight, and I want to just for our listeners, this idea of limiting beliefs is really just what it means. What I've come to notice about them in my work with clients is usually we're not aware of them. We don't think, "Oh, I have these limiting beliefs." We have these beliefs that we attach onto, that we tack onto that we think are true.
Alison: And then over time, as you begin to differentiate, you go, "Wow, I have that belief, but what if that belief isn't actually true? And what if that belief is actually limiting how I can be and what I can do in the world?"
But initially they don't feel, we don't identify them as limiting beliefs. They're just beliefs that we have. And, so, if you can put yourself back in time, back when you were kind of that girl in the trailer. Can you identify what some of the beliefs were that you might have picked up about yourself?
Mary: Yes, I think that's 100% true what you just described, Alison. Where there's that thing about the fish don't know the water is toxic. Because it's all around them and they're still immersed in it. And, so, when I think back about some beliefs that were either explicitly or implicitly passed on to me, or that was the water around me.
A big one is that my dad, in particular, he had two kind of beliefs that I think go hand in hand. One of them was he was notorious for saying, "No, not me." For me, I was going to get out and I was going to go to college.
But anytime we talked about making his life easier, or better, or growing his business, he owns a logging business. He would always say, "This is the way it is." He always called me kid growing up. So he'd always say, "Kid, let me tell you, this is how it is, this is how it was, this is how it always will be."
Alison: Love it.
Mary: And, so, this idea that, in his mind, he was just marked for hard life. And anything that he tried to do to make that let it be easy, let it be light, let it scale, let it grow abundantly, in his head, that was a foregone conclusion. So he had very strong limiting beliefs about himself that I kind of by osmosis sort of absorbed. And then to go hand in hand with that he also had a really big problem with rich people.
Alison: Uh-huh, sure.
Mary: And, so, I can remember I grew up in Richwood, in Nicholas County, and on the other side of Nicholas County is Summersville and those are rivals, rivals in high school, rivals in everything, basically. And that side of the county was always considered to be the wealthier side or the better-off side.
And I remember being in Summersville, at the Pizza Hut, and there's a giant house on the hill. It wasn't really even that giant, it was just a nice brick house, whatever. And my dad saying, "Kiddo, by God, let me tell you if I ever see you having a house up on a hill looking down on people like that."
And believe me, it very much was clear to me that there are good people and there are rich people, and the two are not the same. And that kind of goes back to what I was saying earlier about this idea of, "What are you talking about?"
"I'm working with my hands, I'm putting food on the table, how could I be in poverty?"
To him, if something came too easy to you, either it was handed to you because you were well off, or it was handed to you because you refused to go out and work. In either cases your character was flawed.
So, I have really had to struggle with this idea, that if anything comes by gift, if anything comes by grace, if anything comes by just God being very abundant to me, then I probably didn't deserve it and I probably should give it back. Like I don't want it if I didn't do it. How fun was that?
Alison: Wow, so, almost like this idea that, and I almost hear in that a little bit if it's not a little bit painful, or if it's not a little bit. If anything is too easy, or if anything is, even if you're really good at it, and it just so happens that it allows you to afford a different kind of life. That inherently there's something bad about that.
Alison: And, so, to give yourself the freedom to maybe want to pursue a different kind of life had to be kind of hard. And, yet, so, I imagine you're holding this tension inside of you. Is that, I mean, looking back, could you feel that tension of, "Okay, I'm hearing this, and I don't want to be one of the bad people on the hill."
But maybe there was a part of you that also was like, "Maybe I don't want to live with mushrooms growing in my floor for the rest of my life." Were you aware of that tension inside of you at the time?
Mary: Yeah, 100%. Even as I say you leave a place and that's when you kind of go, "Oh, gosh, maybe it's not that normal for a trailer to be in that condition." At the same time, even when I was there, there was something in me that knew I was going to go out and build a more beautiful life, a safe life, a quote-unquote, "Good life." And we'll get into this later I bet, but this is where slow growth comes in a lot more like that's the book for the woman who's gone and tried to do that.
And a lot of my version of the good life was informed by, in a very '80s, sort of way, like what I saw on TV. So it's like full house with their golden retriever, and like who's the boss with their nice house in the country outside of New York, which is like Connecticut, or Westchester. And, so, I live in Connecticut with golden retrievers, and it's not lost on me that young version, that young mind was shaped by what I saw that I didn't have.
Alison: It's so fascinating you said that to me because so many people I've worked with throughout these years, they get a glimpse of something on television.
Alison: It's a really powerful medium in the '80s that I had, I don't know if you were a John Hughes person. But I was thinking of the movie Pretty in Pink when you're talking about that.
Mary: For sure.
Alison: Where she's going and there's this tension you sort of don't want it, but you also want it. Okay, so your dad, it sounds like he wanted you to advance? Did he want you to go to college? You mentioned very clearly that he had these ideas about himself.
But then somehow you went on and went off to college. You were the first person in your family to go to college and then continued on to go to Yale Law School. So clearly somehow in there, some part of you, was it just you making that happen? At what point were you having to kind of differentiate from your dad? How did that o?
Mary: You know, I would say my dad wanted me to, quote-unquote, "Get out" of where we were up to an extent, and that extent was what I call the irregular heartbeat of the West Virginia border. This rising and falling, crooked line of the West Virginia border. And he was dead set on me going to WVU because he saw that as the pinnacle of education. There's a rivalry, again, with WVU Marshall there, at every stage there's a rivalry, but this was WVU versus Marshall.
Both of them are great universities, but in my dad's eyes' WVU was the pinnacle. And, so, I was not even going to try to go to WVU when I was in high school, because I saw a poster on the wall in my guidance counselor's office, and that had been the plan.
I was going to go with my friend, and then I saw this poster, and it had WVU by the stats it said 22,000 students. And our whole town if you brought everybody down from the mountain had 2000 people in it.
And, so, here's another limiting belief, and it's so weird sometimes when you have begun to break free from beliefs like these to actually say it and go, "This is not hyperbole. This is not exaggeration, this is genuinely what I believed."
I believed that if you started small you were destined for small. If you came from a small town, like WVU, for example, gets a lot of New Jersey students coming in because out-of-state West Virginia U is cheaper than in-state, Rutgers.
Mary: And, so, in my mind, I was immediately going to be behind them. I was immediately going to be, whether it's like not as prepared as them or dumber than them, or whatever. I genuinely thought I was going to fail if I went to WVU, and there's not even an ounce of exaggeration. I removed that possibility for a good semester of high school while I tried to figure out where I wanted to go.
And the only reason I changed my mind was I realized that WVU was the only university in the state that had a law school. And talking about that tension earlier, I thought I was going to fail out and, yet, there's this like tension of like the girl who wants to break free.
Wanting to see it through, to go to law school, and I thought, at the time, you had to go to law school wherever you did your undergrad, that was just like a seven-year program. So I sent in an application to WVU and, so, he was really happy about that. But then I go to WVU and that opens my eyes to the world.
I joined the debate team, we're traveling for that, and I started looking at law schools out of the state and he was not pleased about it. He's not pleased at all. And I actually took a gap year where I went to England in between to go get my masters, and I told him I was going to England the week after 9/11.
9/11 happens and I get the call that I got the scholarship, the Rotary scholarship. And, so, I'm like, "Well, I'm going to go live in," what may as well have been like middle of the war for him. Anything outside of West Virginia was not safe to him. So we started to really battle and butt heads then, and there was not a pretty scene in the airport the day I left.
Alison: Oh, wow. It's so interesting how you describe the inner tension. And I just want to pause there for a second that it's so amazing how we have that. There's a part of you that's like, "I can't do it, I won't be able to do it. I can't." And then there's this other part of you that's like, "I'm going to be a lawyer. I'm going to law school." I mean, these two are very real and imagined.
I mean, now you can probably get a little distance from that, but at the time, you're 18, 19, that inner tension creates a lot of chaos inside. Where you're battling against yourself a little bit, you've got one part of you that really believes you can't do it. One part of you that clearly is going to do it anyway.
You get out there you realize, "Okay, I think I can do this. I'm at WVU, I'm seeing this bigger world." That part of you starting to get a little more brave. A little more, "I think I can." And then all of a sudden then the tension goes to dad.
Alison: Because you're starting to expand. But dad is still, parents, whoever we're dealing with at home is still kind of back in their limiting beliefs. And, so, then you got to bust out that way, I mean, it's just a lot. Sometimes I look back at those early 20s and think about all we're wrestling with. So you get there, you expand internally. Maybe to believe a little bit more in yourself, in your own capacity, it sounds like.
Alison: Then you bump up against dad, that had to be painful.
Mary: Oh, yeah, it was not good. I'll tell you what's really interesting about this story, just to even like paint the full picture is that my dad and I grew up in the same yard. So my parents, who got married very young, brought in their single-wide trailer and parked it just as a temporary solution on the back part of my grandma. And at the time grandma and grandpa yard, he passed away a couple of years later and it still sits there to this day from this temporary solution.
And, so, I'm growing up in the same yard. I'm about to start school with the same elementary school, I'm going to the same Sunday school that Goldie, my grandmother, used to take him to. And, so, my dad sees this, like, "Oh, we are just like repeating history, she's checking the boxes.
We are in the same origin story, if I don't do something, she will have a life as hard as mine. And he was very determined that I would not have a life as hard as his. Where I had to go out and work in the elements or have a very struggle forever and ever in a low-paying job.
So we're starting off having almost the exact same experiences. And I go out and I start to have these different experiences. It's almost like those movies about clones, and then they start having different experiences, and when do they become separate people? That was a weird reference, but I'm thinking of like a Michael Keaton movie where they just keep cloning him and the copies of copies, and it's just a very interesting movie.
Anyway, so, yes, I start to have different worldviews. I start to live in different places, visit different places, I'm studying world governments, I'm debating intense sanctions, resolutions, and things like that as part of the debate team. And suddenly, I'm not the person he knew, and it can feel like a betrayal.
Alison: It's so true. And there's so many ways that can happen in those critical years, when we are supposed to be differentiating from parents. It is what, ultimately, our job as parents is to launch, but it can create so much tension and it can be so hard. I mean, I hear what you're saying is, it's sort of what my dad wanted for me. But when it started to happen it was like, "But who are you?" It was like, "Get out, fly away. Oh, wait, not that part."
Mary: "Come back."
Alison: "Come back."
Alison: Yes, and then you have to make sense of that, and you have to then have enough inner strength to kind of both love your dad. But also, "I want this new version of me. I want this, what I'm able to see." Is that right?
Alison: Start to claim it.
Mary: I'll tell you what else, maybe we'll get into this more, but what's really interesting is talking about this idea of limiting beliefs.
I really love that quote from Henry Ford, I think he was the first one to say it that is, "Whether you think you can or you think you can't, you're right." And, obviously, there are exceptions to that and nuances to that in society, I understand that.
But I feel like my dad's life is such an exemplar of that. It's such like I see him speak things over his life, "I can never do that. That will never happen to me. It just doesn't work that way where we are." And then I have all of this evidence to the contrary because we started in the same place. And I can say like, "But what if you didn't think that way?"
"What if you did see that as a possibility?"
"What if you tried?"
"What if you gave it another effort there or what have you." And that's not to say that he doesn't, he works incredibly hard. He just works incredibly hard through the filter of this must always be hard.
Mary: So it's been really challenging when we get together and we have conversations. There's like this mental tally where it's almost like you have to catch it in the moment and correct it in your head in the moment, so that it doesn't continue to absorb.
While still honoring him and wanting to spend time with him. So him just sort of saying, like, "Let me tell you how the world is." And me going in my head, "Wait, that's not what I've experienced."
Alison: Yeah, you're showing a lot of maturity, that's the fruit I would imagine of yours. Because instead of trying to lock heads and try to get him out, it's more like, "How do I show up, honor the world that he sees while still knowing inside of me the world that I've encountered?"
Mary: Yes, and there were years of the first one. There were years, to be fair, there were years of the first one. "Nope, let's battle this out. Let me try to get you out of here. Let me try to rescue you."
I think, there comes a moment where every single person listening, and each of us, you and I. We have to realize that the only person we can truly control the thoughts of is ourselves. And the only person we can truly do that work on is ourselves. And you want to rescue people, and you want to change people, and you want to make them see what you've seen. But the only way you can do that, I think, is just through your life as an example.
Alison: Amen. During these years you go to England, you're out in the world. How did you begin to change those beliefs? Was it conscious or was it over time, you began to realize, "Wait a minute, it's different than what I thought?"
Mary: You know what's interesting is the first time I really spent a lot of time thinking about this one, I was writing Dirt because I wrote this scene in the book.
The first time I can remember vividly, one of those beliefs being changed was when I got that Rotary scholarship that I mentioned.
Where what that is, is a group of business people, men and women, who have done well enough in their businesses, in their careers, that they can give back and fund these scholarships for someone to go.
It was called the Rotary Ambassadorial Scholarships. I went for a year to England to be an ambassador of the Northern Mongolia, I think, Rotary Club. And, so, while I was there studying and getting my masters, I went around to like 50 different Rotary Clubs in England, and Scotland, and Wales, and gave presentations.
I got to go speak on behalf of my home state, that was such a gift to get to expose people to West Virginia who might have some preconceived notion about it. But that was the first time there was this evidence to the contrary. Here was a living, vivid example, right in front of my face of rich people doing good.
So it's rich people or good people, and the two are not the same. And, so, then I was like, "Well, but my life has been forever changed and impacted by people who went out, had success, and had more than enough, and chose to give and be generous with it.
And, so, that was the first time I realized, "Oh, wait, the people with good hearts, when they have more they can go do good with it." It doesn't mean money is neutral, it's going to amplify who you are at work. So that's the first time. So you remember it. Isn't that interesting? Where that binary that had been set up. "Oh, wait a minute, it's not that simple. It's not that much of a dichotomy." Interesting.
So, as you were moving along and then, at some point, you applied to law school. Did you ever seek help? Did you ever kind of look to mentors or anybody outside of you to help you? Because, again, I think, as you differentiate and even move beyond, I hate to use the word beyond, but separate out from the ways in which your primary caregivers had raised you.
It's like, sometimes we still need those people to come in and help see us, and help show us who we can become. Did anybody kind of enter in, at a certain point, that helped you on that path?
Mary: You know what's interesting, and I think this is important to even pause and interject, and maybe we'll talk also a little bit about this later. But I think about this term filters.
I have an entry in Slow Growth called a Filters and Underdogs, and that filter of, "They're good people or they're rich people." Even after I started to see like, "Maybe that's not true because I'm experiencing the benefit of rich people doing good here." People with ties, that was like another thing people who wore ties to work were taking his, my dad's daughter away from him a week after 9/11.
These are rich people, sending her out where he didn't feel comfortable, there was this challenge there. But even though I had started to see this evidence to the contrary, I very much walked into law school with that filter of, "I will reject you before you can reject me. Because you're going to reject me once you know where I came from. Once you know how I grew up."
I can remember the first time we visited Yale, after I gotten in, we went in dad's truck. And, so, here's this red pickup truck that you can hardly tell it's red anymore because it's just coated in mud.
Three chainsaws in the back bed that he didn't bother to take out. We just drove 12 hours to Connecticut with chainsaws and empty Dr. Pepper cans in the back. And it's sitting on the street next to this carved stone gargoyle, ivory tower building or whatever and the door was locked. They weren't open, yet, for the year.
And, so, I just went put my face up against the stained glass and peered in, and that felt very symbolic like I would always be on the outside looking in. And I would not want to do law school ever again, that was an intense experience.
But if I could movie montage it, do it over again, that's the one thing I would change is I kept as many people as possible at arm's length. Because I was just convinced, like, "If I try with you, you'll hurt me, you'll reject me before or I'll reject you before you can reject me."
So that filter of unbelonging, that filter of not being enough. That filter of where you have to be nothing short of perfect or you'll be rejected in most rooms and most tables has carried through most of my life.
I am an Enneagram Four that's one of our fatal flaws is always feeling like we have this missing piece. So that's the first thing that I'll say in a very long form way, is that it's a daily battle to recognize and take captive that's the filter. That's a filter.
I think the way that that filter has become more transparent. One of my favorite lines in Slow Growth, as I say, "Like Marty McFly's parents disappearing from the four corners of a frame. My filter knows that it can't allow me to change too much of the story or it will become transparent."
Mary: This currency of confirmation bias. And, so, the more people I have met, who maybe came from a background of having a lot, who are still incredibly kind people the more that filter has disappeared.
So it's not been an official mentor, I would say, it's just been being introduced to a wide variety of people with a wide variety of stories. And seeing that we're all just trying to go out and use our gifts to help the world and do our best.
So that was a really, we took a detour there through a few different topics. But I think that's important in terms of there was never just like a one person came in and taught me how to let go of it, it's been like meeting a lot of people.
Alison: I love that, it's that whole life is a contact sport, touché, that as you bumped into people, and what I love about what you're saying, it's like, what I hear is that armor, you had some pretty heavy duty armor when he landed on the campus of law school and this limiting belief, that "If you know me you'll reject me, so I'll reject you first."
But it sounds to me like just through these different interactions, bumping into all different kinds of people that armor became a filter that you then could, it's not that it goes away, but you then had the power to go, "Wait a minute, is that a belief? Is it true?" I mean, that just says so much for your own kind of power of curiosity.
Mary: Right. Yes, I love that.
Alison: I mean, I'm noticing that this isn't quite adding up. I'm bumping into these people who are very different from me, and maybe they even are getting to know my story. Presumably, over time, you began to let them in, and, "Wait, they're not leaving."
Mary: Yeah, and you know what's interesting, Alison, is I've had to go through the same process you just described through the Christian author world. I was just 100% convinced I wasn't going to be Christian enough for some people or I was going to say the wrong thing and immediately be kicked out of the club. And when we all talked about this, when we got together in Arizona, that's the first time we were all seeing people, really, after the last couple of years, and it's like you have to remember how to people again.
But part of that was just me constantly believing there's going to come a day, where it's like you listen to that music, or watch that movie, or whatever the case may be you live in this state, whatever, where the circle was. And, so, it's just a continual, you get it under control in one area, you got to be vigilant in all areas of your life to see where's this filter sneaking back in.
And, for me, a big one, besides the one I just said, it's just perpetually in business, that there are so many places where I self-sabotage and make things harder than they have to be. Because of that belief that if it came easy, or I didn't have to struggle for it, I don't deserve it. It cannot possibly be that easy. It cannot possibly be that easy that you just build out this thing, and you turn it on, and it starts working.
Mary: So I catch myself doing that all the time. And one of the most helpful analogies I heard, actually, very close to when I saw you in Arizona. Somebody was talking about your capacity and that if you only have a capacity for holding good things that is the size of a shot glass.
Then every single time more good than that comes into your life, you will unconsciously, subconsciously, all of those consciously self-sabotage to get back down to capacity. Because you think that is all you deserve. And like it was talking about expanding to like infinity pool capacity, and, I think, that's the work of my life right now.
Alison: One of the things I loved when I met you, Mary, and I wonder if this is something you do to help with that filter is you would ask. So if you would say something, and I think this is really good for those of you who are listening, it's a great practice, and I talk about the power of just ask.
So if you had that feeling like I think I just said something that everybody might be questioning, or you're starting to tell yourself a story, you would ask.
You would say, "Hey, I just said this thing did that land oddly on any of you? Or are we good? You'd kind of check in and it was so endearing, and just so like, "Oh, no, not at all, not one iota. I thought it was great that you suggested we stop and get a drink somewhere or whatever." And you're just like, "Wait, I just want to double-check, checking with you, was that okay that I said that?"
You did it in such a way that really disarmed everybody. Made it safe for everybody to go, "Oh, heck no, I was great with that." Or I think if somebody did have a problem with it, they would... But I could tell you'd put a lot of thought and effort into what you're just describing. I know, I'm going to have these thoughts come in. I've done the work enough to know it's better to just put it on the table and ask.
Mary: A 100%, I love that. I love that you brought that up because it solves so many problems. And for anybody who's listening, it's not from a, "Please approve of me place." I have plenty of those but this is just like a clarity of communication thing.
So I had one with my team the other day, we were on a call. And I was talking about, I have a chief marketing officer which sounds very fancy. But she's essentially just like a marketing expert who helps me and she is pretty fancy.
We were talking about a portion of a funnel that we're building out. And she'd said, "I don't think it's impossible, for sure, I just think we got to re-evaluate some other things." And she was just going through her analysis.
I was like, "Cool. Will you just say that to me in a different way? Because right now my Enneagram Three Wing filter that I have on my ears just freaked out a little because I didn't even know impossible was on the table. So just say that to me again, maybe a different way, so I can really understand what you're saying."
And she was like, "Oh, my gosh, no, that's not a thing at all." And I think so many of us walking around with these filters, we have no idea how many times our hearts have been just absolutely broken, or we felt immediately rejected by somebody, and they could not have meant something more different and just ask, exactly.
Alison: Exactly and they go back to those first formative years. Those formative years, that's what I always say let's go back to those 17, 18, because that's when all those beliefs got cooked in that soup, right?
Alison: And one of mine is, "If I'm not helping you, I'm irrelevant." That's a strong Two Wing that I have and that was just cooked, it was baked into me. And, so, I can become aware of it all day long, but I still have to check myself, and then you say to the person like, "I was sick last week." And, so, I just immediately feel unworthy because I'm not doing all the work, right?
Alison: So and just name it, take that in and, again, it's not needing approval, we're doing it for ourselves. We're saying, "I need to speak up on what's happening inside of me because I'm going to be healthier, then, as a result, and our relationship is going to be healthier."
Mary: Yes, all of that. And I mean, I think, what we're really talking about here is just this idea of like, and you said something so profound. Maybe you'll remember it and say it again for us here if you can.
You said it in Arizona, and we were talking about this idea of feelings, and that sort of common instruction that your feelings can't be trusted kind of thing. And you said something like, "I know what you're saying, but, actually, they can kind of point to the more important thing."
So I think what we're doing here is we're saying, "I'm feeling something, I'm hearing something, my filter is doing something and I know it's not accurate, but it's pointing me to a pain that I have now, a bruise maybe." So do you remember what I'm talking about at all? It was so good.
Alison: I do say all the time, because I was taught “Your emotions can’t be trusted.” I think a lot of people in church communities were. But I think it’s these limiting beliefs but our beliefs are attached to these feelings. They conjure up those feelings inside. It's exactly what you’re saying. Something has activated something inside of me. This is the process of self awareness. This is how we become aware of the limiting beliefs. That’s activated a fear, that’s activated a fear of rejection, a fear of whatever. Instead of speaking from that and saying, “Hey are you ok with me?” we speak on behalf of what was activated and say, “When this happened, here’s what was stirred up inside of me, let’s get a check on what was really clear.” It’s a slightly more nuanced way of advocating for ourselves. So that's where we have a choice in how that thing that lands on us, whatever it is, whatever that sensitivity, however that lands on us. We can believe something about the other person, we can believe something about ourselves, or we can actually get curious and inquiry, and figure out what's actually going on.
Mary: Yeah, I love that so much. And it's just sort of like I always just picture emotional owies, emotional bruises. Somebody's just come up and poked a bruise, and they didn't know that there was bruise under that sweater. But you kind of saying like, "Oh, I'm feeling this." What needs some attention? What needs some healing here.
Alison: Yes, and giving the other person a chance to be a healthy, mature adult, too. Now, sometimes people will come back with the thing that hurts and, so, that's the risk we take. We want to do that in a way that ensures our own safety, too, because sometimes we can be disappointed, but I loved that.
So I want to just, Mary, ask you now, from where you are now, I love what you said, you're living in this house with the golden retrievers. You've got this really creative life where you've had success in a number of different ways, not the least of which is the success of just a whole-hearted person and whole-hearted relationships, beautiful relationships, and just this life that you've created.
If you were to look back on 18-year-old, 19-year-old, 20-year-old, Mary, who was so torn, what would you want her to know now?
Mary: The first thing that popped into my mind when you said that was start therapy or start the work of getting healed sooner. And I say that and even, just spoiler alert, I'm not in therapy right now. If I've looked into it, it's something that I want very deeply want to do.
Writing a book like Dirt and ripping open Pandora’s box without the support of a therapist, it's not something I would recommend. And, so, but I would say to that person, I love that thing that goes around on Facebook pretty regularly, that what happened to you is not your fault but it is your responsibility to get healed, and to not continue to put that on other people.
And, so, I'm always torn between that belief of, like, everything happened the way it was supposed to and in God's timing and you needed to be on this journey to get to the point where I started writing, I wanted to write a book when I was five and I didn't write Dirt until I was 40. And I've always said time created softening and that was when I was meant to write that book.
But if I could go back and talk to 18-year-old Mary, I would say, "Start getting healed now because you are going to allow wounds, and limiting beliefs, and traumas to continue to inform your life for way too long, and you're going to make it so much harder on yourself than it needs to be. There's that whole premise of we return to what is familiar not because it's healthy, or good, or safe, but because it's familiar.
We return to what's familiar because it's comfortable even if it's not for our good. And, so, there have been so many times when I catch myself doing things that will play small in business, or drawback just when something is starting to take off. Because I don't know how to have the identity of someone who lives in abundance, I'll return to scarcity.
Alison: Yes, I love that. I love what you just said that you did get to where you wanted to be. You did get to write the book, you did get to experience this life. But I hear you kind of saying there's still a part of you that's like, "I wonder if that younger version of me had known what I know now. If she maybe would have gotten started a little bit earlier and could have lived with a little bit less of that internal scarcity.
Mary: Yes, you know there's a song from Mercy Me, it's called Dear Younger Me. And it's like, oh, what are the lyrics? It's something like "Would I go back or tell you."
Alison: Great song.
Mary: "Is this what made you who you are?" And that's the tension, it's like, "Would I go back and make it easier on 18-year-old, Mary? Or did I need to go through that stuff to be sitting here with you right now as the person I am?" That's the tension and I don't know the answer. I'm very curious to your thoughts.
Alison: That is sort of the million-dollar question, right?
Alison: Because you do want to save her from some of the pain. And, yet, the pain has created so much of the beauty of what you've been able to put into the world.
Alison: What would you say to anyone who's listening right now who's really struggled with limiting beliefs, with scarcity mindset, what would you say to her?
Mary: I think, the first thing is to just start to pay attention, start noticing, start this act of noticing. And there are so many people listening right now, I guarantee it, I don't actually gamble but I would bet everything I have on this right here, I'm not at all afraid to lose.
There are people listening right now who are sitting on a dream, they're sitting on their gifts, they're sitting on their abilities, they're sitting on their story, they're sitting on that thing that they can go a day without thinking about.
That they know they were put here to do, and they're not doing it because of some really common scripts that the resistance loves to use on us.
So they are, "It's already been done."
"It's already been done better."
"It's already been done by somebody the world actually wants to pay attention to."
"I can't do it until it's perfect."
"I can't do it until I know every single step of the blueprint, I know exactly how to get from A to B."
"I can't do it because I don't have the bandwidth."
"What if I started and I can't stay consistent?"
"I feel like an impostor."
"I feel like a fraud."
"I feel like I'll be found out."
"Who am I to say this?"
"What if the critics come from me?" Boom.
One, if not all of those scripts is on repeat in your head. And now you can start to notice them. You can start to notice them when you start to think about that thing and they pop up and you can just go "Gosh, you really are very boring resistance. You really don't have any other scripts, do you?" And, so, it's very similar, I think, for limiting beliefs and that scarcity is just begin to notice how it continues to come up, and the thoughts that zip through your head.
How they're actually not that creative, and you can retrain your brain to go, "Cool." So when the resistance shows up like that, "I must be on to something really good because, otherwise, it wouldn't be afraid."
Alison: Oh, I love that. I love that, Mary, that's a good word. Tell people how they can find you. Tell us about your new book.
Mary: Yes, so the two books we've been talking about Dirt was the first book came out in September 2020. And this book Slow Growth Equals Strong Roots is the follow-up to it, it just came out in May of this year. And, so, I have been lovingly saying these books are like fraternal twin sisters.
They're sort of like bookends of a story that should, I think, be read together and Dirt itself is divided into two parts: The Girl in the Trailer and The Girl After the Trailer. And I like to think of these two books as Dirt is the love letter to the girl in the trailer.
This girl who grew up with a story with where she didn't have a lot or she feels like that's her origin. And then Slow Growth Equals Strong Roots is really a love letter to that girl after, that woman after, who has worked her entire life thinking that if she could just build a life pretty enough on the outside, no one would ever realize what was going on in the inside.
No one would ever realize what she's overcome in her story, and now she's done it everything around her is stuff she once dreamed of. And she is more exhausted and lonelier, and more dissatisfied than she's ever been.
And, so, book two is really about— so if book one, Dirt, is about making peace with our past—this one is about setting our present free from the prison of our past. Are we still making decisions, right now, because of our past? Then we've got to find a way to find our identity and our purpose, separate from how much we can try to achieve our way into worth.
Alison: I think we got a part two of this interview kind of, because I want to dive into that, right?
Alison: Because of course you would go, it makes perfect sense, and I appreciate your honesty. You would go from one extreme to the other in a way, "Oh, now I can do this? Okay, now I'm going to do it like crazy and now I'm going to achieve my—" I mean, it makes sense. And, so, to come back to true north is a whole another part of the journey. So let's come, I actually would love to have you on, maybe come back-
Mary: A 100%, I'm in.
Alison: ...to that because that's a whole another way, I could just dive into there right now. But let's, for today, I want to first of all, tell us where people can find you. They can find your books anywhere books are sold?
Alison: You have a wonderful podcast where you really dig deep into people's stories, The Mary Marantz Show?
Mary: Yes. I'll tell you what, everybody listening, if you go to Mary Marantz, that's m-a-r-y-m-a-r-a-n-t-z.com/quiz we have put together a quiz called the What's Your Achiever Type quiz. Where you will take a minute or two to take it, and it, actually, tells you, in Slow Growth, we go through a few different kinds of these characters of the woman always performing.
The Performer, The Tightrope Walker, The Illusionist in the distance, The Masquerader, and The Contortionist, where you are motivated by different reasons to go after goals. And therefore you get tripped up going after them for different reasons.
So it will tell you what your type is. But more, importantly, it'll tell you how to break free from those limitations and move into purpose and, so, it's a great place to start. And from there you will easily click over to the podcast, and the books, and the blog, and all of that. But if you can't remember marymarantz.com/quiz, you can just go to achieverquiz.com.
Alison: And we'll link to all this in the show notes. That's awesome, Mary, you're doing such great stuff. So I ask every guest the following questions as we close what or who is bringing out the best of you right now?
Mary: I think it is an unexpected margin in my calendar. So we actually just made the choice to move my third book from the fall of 2023 to spring of 2024. Which means for the first time, in at least three years if not 15 years, depending on when you start counting, I actually have some months ahead of me to just be able to be, just be.
I'm obviously still going to be running our businesses and things like that, but I don't have an immediate deadline weighing on me. And, so, I am currently trying to figure out what it looks like to summer again.
I keep going back to summers as a kid, I'm like, "Okay, we need Icee popsicles." I know that maybe a bonfire, riding bikes. I'm just trying to even remember what you do if you get to be a human again. So I would say like just a return to Mary as a person versus Mary as a brand, or Mary as a business owner or whatever. That's definitely been bringing out the best to me.
Alison: I love that, and I want that for you and with you. And then, secondly, this might go hand in hand with that what needs or desires are you working to protect?
Mary: I think it is that. I think, there's an entry in Slow Growth called The Girl Who Always Comes Through. The Woman Who Always Comes Through, and it's talking about how when you train people by the disciplined instruction of your hands, your own hands, that you are the one who always comes through.
That you are the one who always delivers, the one who gets the A+, the one who knocks it out of the pack. People like us, perfection becomes the new average, and you find yourself being treated by and seeing yourself as this machine cranking out an ever-endless supply of more. And you reach a point where the fear of letting other people down, become scarier to you than when you actually do completely burnout.
And, so, I am trying to protect Mary is human, Mary, not as machine because what it just keeps happening is these huge peaks and valleys, and I work with a couple of coaches and we've been working on this for a while to like flatten out the all wins and then the recovery times.
Because what tends to happen is I push myself to completely collapse, and then I disappear for months. So we're trying to just like keep some good firm foundations of, and boundaries, honestly, and saying to people who've come to depend on me always delivering, "I can't do that." And if you're disappointed that's too bad.
Alison: Oh, good for you, Mary. I love that for you.
Mary: Me too.
Alison: I love that for you and it's going to make the next writing that you do. That's the paradox of all of this, is when we take the time to step back and be human. It makes what we bring into the world all the more rich, and you've just brought so much goodness to so many people.
Thank you for your time today. I am so grateful for you. I have gleaned so much from you, and I know so many of our listeners, today, are going to be so touched by this conversation and we'll connect to everything you mentioned on the show notes.
So thank you so much. Thanks, everybody, for tuning in today. We'll see you next week on The Best of You.