Hi. This is Morty Lefkoe with another addition of the weekly podcast Conversations with Top Personal Development Bloggers. Every week we have a conversation with a blogger who has a slightly different take on personal development. There’s so much valuable material being offered by personal development bloggers. This is the best place to find out which ones might provide you with just what you’re looking for, what’s unique about each blogger, why they started writing their blog, how their personal experiences inform their writing, why you ought to be reading their blog, and lots more.
Today I have the pleasure of talking to Tess Marshall and she writes a blog called The Bold Life, Inspiration for Fearless Living. Hi, Tess. How are you today?
Tess: I’m great. How are you?
Morty: Wonderful. Where are you calling; where are we talking to you from?
Tess: Scottsdale, Arizona.
Morty: Wonderful. Thank you so much. We really enjoy having you here. You’ve got a real interesting blog. I have spent some time on it and I think all of my readers and a lot of other people will be interested in finding out more about you. Let’s start at the beginning. What was the impetus to write your blog? How come you started it?
Tess: My husband and I always had a dream to move out of Michigan where the skies are gray like nine months out of the year and the winters were hard. I worked as a psychologist in private practice and it was time to move to the southwest. We found out that my license wasn’t valid there and I would have to do schooling all over again.
I didn’t want to do that, and so I just thought I’m going to start a blog and I’ll start writing and we’ll see what happens, and that’s what happened.
Morty: How long have you been writing it now?
Tess: Five years at least. I only got serious in the last two.
Morty: What’s your background in personal development that led you to write about that? You said you had some background as a psychotherapist?
Morty: What kind of therapy did you do and how did that get you into writing about development?
Tess: Mostly I did women at mid-life. What got me into personal development was probably I got married to my husband when I was seventeen and pregnant and no plan, no clue, and by the time I was twenty-two I had four daughters because the third pregnancy was twins.
So I went literally crazy, and at about twenty-seven; it was five years after they were all born, I just needed help. I mean we both needed help and we had absolutely no idea how to get it or what to do. A friend of ours said oh, I know somebody who has a perfect therapist. We were both eager to go because we didn’t; it wasn’t that we didn’t love each other. We just weren’t good parents and we were so young. We were just overwhelmed.
So we went into therapy and we were together for six months and of course we realized that it was us that had to change, not the kids. The therapist said two things. He told us to slow down and to calm down. Those two things we went and we did and it changed the whole atmosphere in our home within six months.
Then my husband was done and I said oh, no, I need to keep coming because I just wanted to heal my past and past relationships. I was one of ten kids. I kept going and then through the years we told our daughters if they ever needed to talk to somebody they could do the same thing, and that’s what led me to doing that myself.
Morty: So you moved from the value of therapy; of the kind of help you got for personal growth and therapy, to something beyond therapy, just into personal growth in general?
Morty: I got it. Obviously your personal experiences have been very useful in writing your blog?
Tess: Absolutely. I don’t run out of stories, and my husband and I have been married forty-two years.
Morty: So you’ve got a lot about your relationship with your husband and then your four kids?
Morty: Who’s the typical audience for your blog?
Tess: Every time I think I have that nailed, other people hire me that don’t fit into my ideal client. I would say typical people that hire me are probably eighty percent women, twenty percent men. The women tend to be baby boomers, and so here now my ideal clients are the baby boomers, and I’ll get a lot of thirty-year-olds that hire me. So it’s twenty percent men, eighty percent women.
Morty: Mainly U.S.?
Tess: No. All over. What I do through my blog is help people overcome fear. I’m a courage coach.
Morty: A courage coach? That’s a good way to put it. How often do you post?
Tess: Once a week. When I first started it was five; three times a week. Then I went down to three. Then when I got serious, I realized if I wanted to make money I had to start creating things, so then I started creating eCourses and eBooks and of course I blogged less, so now it’s once a week. Every Monday I post something new.
Morty: Do you accept comments?
Tess: Yes, I do.
Morty: Do you generally respond to them?
Tess: Sometimes. It depends. If I’m working on a creative project, my hours can be like thirteen hours a day. Now when I first started blogging, for three years that’s all I did with my time, was write three posts and answer all the comments. While you’re doing that when you’re a beginner, what you’re doing is making connections, not only with your audience but with other bloggers.
I don’t know if it’s still this way, but when I began it’s new bloggers making comments on other bloggers’ blogs in order to get to know each other, help promote each other.
Morty: What would you say if you have the sense of what other people are doing and how they’re doing it; in every case personal development by definition means how can we help people develop themselves to happier, more successful lives. What’s unique about your blog? What’s your specific angle? What’s your specific voice that distinguishes you from the many other people who write about similar topics?
Tess: I would say that my background; absolutely my background. It’s named a Bold Life because I was always a go-getter. Everybody used to say to me how did you get that way? Friends. All my friends were generally older than me and I think that’s because I started when I was so young and they would want to know how I got to be where I am and who I am.
First of all, when you’re one of ten kids you’re constantly fighting for the forefront; for time, attention, food, whatever you can get. So I was naturally aggressive until I got older and learned that I needed to be not aggressive, but assertive.
Morty: Ah-ha, good distinction.
Tess: Well, it took me a while. Because my friends were older, they’re the ones who kind of tamed my wild ways and I was eager to listen. I didn’t have mentors until I was almost thirty. Then when people find out what I’ve accomplished; and, again, I’ve accomplished that because I put myself in that position of being a mother so young. My husband literally had three jobs and I would have one or two while doing the kids.
So we learned a whole lot; we would have learned in ten years what somebody else might in twenty, not because we wanted to; because we needed to to survive; survive individually and as a family.
Morty: Got it.
Tess: I guess that’s what distinguishes me. Everybody is afraid, right? There’s nobody walking the Earth except maybe the Dalai Lama or somebody like that that doesn’t have fear. My take is that nobody is different than I am. If I could do it and I did continue to do it, anybody can. You don’t need to be a genius. You just need to be willing to take action.
Morty: Who specifically; you started talking about your therapist obviously, but who influenced your thinking? Any particular role model?
Tess: I’m not into the Course of Miracles. An older friend got into the Course of Miracles and said you just really need to get this book, blah, blah, blah. After a while I got it, and it’s a spiritual book that tells you how to have inner peace and there’s a text and a lesson a day.
Once I started reading that, my husband and I both starting going to study groups and then we heard of Marianne Williamson, because I was watching Oprah one day; and this was in the eighties. She came on and she wrote a book called Return to Love. Shortly after that she got transferred to a church in Detroit, which was about two and a half hours from our home. Myself and my friends would carpool and spend the weekend in Detroit, having just a lot of fun attending Marianne’s workshops. I would say Marianne and Oprah were both front and center for me.
Morty: Very good. Okay. Do you have a long term goal for your blog? Anything you would like your blog to achieve specifically?
Tess: I want to help as many people as I possibly can to get over their fear and succeed in their lives, however they define success. My current goal is to get into a six-figure income and I want to have fun doing it.
Morty: I asked you before what was unique about your blog. What’s sort of unique about your expertise? Is it your psychology background, your experiences? What’s your particular expertise in being able to give other people advice?
Tess: My psychology background has helped me read people. I see things that nobody else sees. I did that for years, and I’m pretty insightful and intuitive. This is what I have in my life. I could do nothing because really my husband has enough to support us, but I’m not satisfied doing nothing. What was that question again?
Morty: That’s fine. It’s what makes you uniquely qualified; what’s your specific expertise?
Tess: My life experiences, my intuitiveness, and my ability to read people and my compassion.
Morty: Very good. Thank you. That’s very clear. You’ve hit on this tangentially, but what specifically is your personal mission or vision? You just said contributing to as many people as possible. Is there anything else you’d like … What’s your mission in general?
Tess: My mission is to help heal the world. I think when we heal within, the world outside will automatically do the same. We can project all we want on whoever is the president, whatever war is going on. It doesn’t have anything to do with us. What has to do with us is how peaceful am I today? Who am I fighting with today? Who have I forgiven today? The more we look without, the more distracted we get, and we only have to look at ourselves.
A different teacher has taught me to stay in my own back yard. I think that if we all learn to stay in our own back yard and focus on ourselves, we wouldn’t have many problems in the world. We’re all more alike than different.
Morty: Very good. Thank you. What’s the single most important thing you’ve told people that’s actually made a difference in their life?
Tess: To love themselves and love others.
Morty: Okay. Very good. What’s the URL? If people want to go to your blog and check it out and find out more about it, what’s the URL that you go to?
Morty: That’s it? No spaces? No hyphens?
Morty: theboldlife.com? Now just as a followup to everything, is there anything else you’d like our audience to know about you or your blog? You might have covered it all in the answers to my questions, but if there’s anything else that you’d like to say about what it is you do, what you offer, your thinking, etc., that we haven’t covered we’d love to hear anything else you want to add.
Tess: I’m available to help them get over their fears. I’m a courage coach and I will walk them through the actions that they need to take in order to get where they want to go and support them as well. I have five different eCourses that they can check out on my blog. I have a Kindle book and a published book online. So if they’re ready, so am I.
Morty: Okay. So you have five different courses you say available, right?
Morty: These are digital courses; online courses?
Tess: Yes. Yes.
Morty: In addition to which you obviously want to do one-on-one coaching?
Morty: Thank you so much for your time today. It sounds like you’re busy with a lot of stuff but you’ve got a very interesting sort of unique take, specifically working on courage, getting over fear, and you’ve got a great background for it. I thank you so much for your time and letting my audience and obviously the audiences of a lot of other bloggers find out about you. Maybe you speak in their voice; in which case they ought to check you out and find out this is something they can get value from on a weekly basis.
Tess: Thank you so much for having me.
Morty: It was my pleasure. Thank you, Tess. I’m sure we’ll be talking again soon at some point.
Tess: Okay. Bye-bye.