194: Using Your Past to Strengthen Your Future with Mary Marantz | Tanya Dalton Skip to the content
Mary Marantz podcast interview on The Intentional Advantage
October 13, 2020   |   Episode #:

194: Using Your Past to Strengthen Your Future with Mary Marantz

In This Episode:

What lessons can you learn from your past? Better yet, how can your past help you shape a brighter, more successful future? This week I had the pleasure of chatting with Mary Marantz: a Yale Law School graduate, podcast host of The Mary Marantz Show, speaker, and author of the book Dirt, whose writing has been featured in Southern Living, Business Insider, Thrive Global, MSN, and Bustle (to name a few). During our chat, we focus on Mary’s unique background as a girl growing up in rural West Virginia, and how her family and its history inspired Mary to rise to the top and claim success on her own terms. We explore Mary’s approach to dealing with Imposter Syndrome and her advice for leaning into your vulnerability as a way to inspire and connect with others.

Show Transcript:

The Big Idea

It’s the scars that make you stronger.

Questions I Answer

  • How can I overcome failure?
  • How can I deal with imposter syndrome?
  • What can I do to think more positively about my future?

Key Topics in the Show

  • How to use your past to shape a more successful future

  • Leaning into your vulnerability to inspire and connect with others

  • How to overcome Imposter Syndrome and define success on your own terms

  • Mary’s advice for embracing an “I can do this!” mindset in your own life

Resources and Links

Show Transcript

This is The Intentional Advantage podcast with your host, Tanya Dalton, an
entrepreneur best-selling author, nationally recognized productivity expert, and
mom of two. This season is all about Strategies for Success, helping you confidently
step into leadership, purposefully, intentionally, and mindfully. Are you ready? Here’s
your host, Tanya Dalton.
Hello, Hello, Everyone. Welcome to The Intentional Advantage podcast. I’m your host,
Tanya Dalton, and this is Episode 194. And today I have a fabulous guest for you. As
you know, all season long we’ve been talking about strategies for success, and when
I was sitting down thinking about who would be an amazing guest for the season, I
thought about Mary Marantz and her beautiful book that just came out called Dirt.
I was lucky enough to get an advanced copy of her book, and I wrote an
endorsement and here’s a tiny little excerpt of what I said when I wrote the
endorsement for Mary’s book. I said that, “Mary’s words are equal parts, poetry and
pain, sadness and soaring redemption. Her story is an incredible one that I know
you’re going to resonate with.
Even if your background is very different from Mary’s, which it probably is because
she has a very unique background, I know you’re going to really connect with her
message. Mary Marantz is a Yale Law School graduate, and she is the first in her
immediate family to go to college. She grew up in rural West Virginia in a very, very
rundown trailer, which we’re going to talk about in this episode, but she’s also the
author of the book dirt.
And she’s the host of The Mary Marantz Show, which debuted in the iTunes Top 200
Podcasts list. Her writing has been featured in Southern Living, Business Insider,
Thrive Global, MSN, Bustle, Britain Co.; she’s an amazing woman with an amazing
story. So let’s dive into that now.
Tanya: Mary, I am so excited to have you on the show today. This is going to be so
much fun.
Mary: Oh my gosh, Tanya, I have been looking forward to this. Like I just feel like
when you came on my show to talk about your book, which gosh, like, is that getting
close to a year ago? We were just talking about, I just fell in love with you. And I was
like, ‘I want to be friends with this woman.’ So thank you for having me.

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Tanya: Well, I have to say you and I have really connected and we’ve chatted a lot
about your book and I loved your book. So I got an advanced copy. It feels like forever
ago. And I literally did sit down and finish it in one reading because it was just so
compelling and so amazing. So I want to dig into that today, if that’s okay with you.
I’d really love to talk about your book because I know you grew up in a single-wide
trailer with a leaky roof, with mushrooms growing out of the carpet, missing
floorboards, and you have scrapped and you have scraped, you have, you’ve really
made your own way to get to where you are now.
And you have this very admirable determination within you that you’re like, ‘I’m
going to do this and I’m gonna make it. I’m gonna make it. I’m going to do it.’ And I
know you attribute some of that stubbornness, some of that determination, to your
grandma, Goldie.
Mary: Oh yeah.
Tanya: Yeah. So can we talk about that? Let’s talk about how you lifted yourself up
out of where you started.
Mary: Yeah. I mean, I, sometimes I feel like that is wired right into my DNA with, like
you said, courtesy of Goldie. Grandma Goldie was five foot two, and a towering force
in our family tree. She was just like the sassiest woman I ever knew. And my favorite
part about Goldie is she would like go into town or go into church, and she was the
perfect prim, proper lady. I don’t think most people realized just how sassy she was.
Like I said, in the book, she was a pink suit in a high lace-collared shirt on Sunday.
But back home in jeans and T-shirts, she could slam a door like nobody’s business.
Tanya: I love it.
Mary: Her two favorite phrases were, “When in Rome, do as the Romans do. And in
case you didn’t know it, I’m the dang Roman.” Essentially: do like I tell you to. And the
other one was, “I’ll do it myself. I’ll do it, myself.” I mean, she just said it like that. Every
time, “Fine. I’ll do it myself.” And I think there’s this really interesting, like there’s that
idea of like more is caught than taught.
And I watched her just be the most like stubborn–‘I will, by whatever means
necessary, I will accomplish the end goal I have in mind.’ And, you know, I think it
was extra powerful because she’s this tiny little woman and she was married to a
giant of a man, my grandpa Bill–my grandpa, William Best Sr., who started the
logging business.
And he passed away when she was not much older than I am now. And for her to
kind of become this like matriarch, the single mom–she was, my aunt was still in
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junior high at the time; for her to kind of still hold that family together after losing
him, I think it’s just a testament to how much might can be in such a tiny body.
And I just feel like that kind of like passed by osmosis and to me, although I’m like
twice as tall as she is, so that part not so much.
Tanya: I love that, all this might. I think that we underestimate, we undervalue our
might and our determination or, or we talk about the stubbornness that we have is
this negative. But really, it really is what allows us to push through. Because it’s not
always easy work.
And I love how you chose the word ‘Dirt’ for your title. I think there’s so many of us
that say, ‘let’s just leave the dirt behind let’s, let’s sweep it under the rug,’ so to speak.
And you’ve really chosen to celebrate it. I know that was really important to you that
the title of the book be ‘Dirt.’ So can you tell me why that is?
Mary: It’s very hard to explain when–and I’m sure you feel this way when you wrote
your book–like, you don’t know that moment when something got into your head,
like a section of the book that you wrote or sentence or story you were going to tell,
but it kind of starts to feel like it always supposed to be there. That story was always
supposed to be in the book or like that chapter was always supposed to be called
And what’s really interesting is when people are like, ‘Hey, like when did you first
start to think to call this book Dirt?’ The nearest I can trace back is about five years
ago, maybe six years ago, I was speaking at a conference, a Faith conference, and I
went there with a totally different talk, as very often happens with the speakers who
go to this conference; and then we would get there, and we just felt like God gave us
a different talk to give.
And it was crazy, like the imagery without us ever talking about it, the imagery that
would be like woven throughout all the talks at the conference. And so that time, my
talk switched to a talk that I titled, ‘It always started with Dirt,’ and I was talking
about my dad’s story and my story and the parallels, and also just this parallel to a
scripture . . .
And the number of other talks that had visuals of dirt woven through them was just
crazy. It was just crazy to me. And I feel like God was saying, without me realizing it at
the time, like this book is going to be called ‘Dirt’ and it’s a glimpse of what’s to
come, but I’m not going to tell you it’s going to take five more years because you’ll
just get scared and run away.

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But that’s the nearest that I can trace it back to, like that talk at a conference. But for
me, dirt really stands . . . When I say, ‘it always started with dirt,’ it’s like, well, what
does that mean? When I think about that, I think about how God could have chosen
a lot of things to create man from. He could have chosen air and water and
moonbeams . . . Maybe unicorns for, all I know. Maybe that’s what happened to the
unicorns, I don’t know.
Tanya: Maybe! Who knows?
Mary: But he decided to make man out of the dust of the ground, which is really just
dirt. And like, I picture him leaning close to breathe life into it, and that moisture
from the breath mixing with the dirt, turning into this mud. And it reminds me that if
God can create all of mankind out of the muddiest parts of his creation, if he can
choose what we see as maybe lowly to grow his most precious creations, his most
precious things, then he can do that in our stories. These things that we think we
need to like sweep away or hide away that disqualify us, this mud, we think would
make other people turn away from us. That’s actually where God does his best
And so there’s kind of that aspect of, ‘It always started with dirt.’ It reminds me that
we will return to dirt. We will return to dust and our time is fleeting. And then there’s
a lot of elements in my story, just with like my dad’s muddy work boots. And it’s
woven; every chapter kind of has a dirt imagery woven throughout it.
Tanya: It’s true. And you touched on this with what you just said, this idea that, and I
think this is what I didn’t realize before I truly wrote a book was that I think I know
the story that I’m going to write. I think I know the direction the book is going to
take me, but it unfolds and it digs you in deeper and deeper. And it pulls back these
layers that are sometimes difficult to pull back. Right? But we pull them back and
we take a look at them and it’s those scars that make us stronger.
Mary: Mmm, yeah. Yeah. When I sat down to write this book, my first draft of this
book was wildly different than the book that people now hold in their hands draft.
One was the draft for me. Now that I look back on it, I realize that was for me. I didn’t
know it at the time. I thought it was just like writing the book and it was going to be
done, like change some commas, and were done! And that version of the book was
much angrier. It was much more bitter. It was the first time I was getting the story
down on paper.
And I think that, you know, there is something to be said, that sometimes you have
to write an entire draft of a book just to know the book you don’t want to write. And I
definitely had kind of this Christmas carol moment after I turned it in. A day passed
and I was like, I have seen a version of my future that I don’t like. I’ve seen a version of
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my future where that is the book on shelves. It’s like we were talking about before
we hopped on, how you have to love a book to be able to go out and talk about it like
this. And if it had been that first draft, oh my gosh, I would not have loved it. I would
not have been happy and proud to go out and talk about it.
It was just this, I dunno, it just became kind of an, ‘and then’ book: ‘and then this
happened, and then that happened, and then that happened.’ And it was just like a
lot of just like all getting all of that, like wound cleaned out almost. And then I
decided to gut 50,000 words in two months.
Tanya: That’s a lot of words.
Mary: It’s a lot of words. And then, it was not only like, ‘we need 50,000 new words.’ It
was like they had to be the right ones. And I got to tell you, to already be at the
lowest that I was, because I was exhausted after draft one; and when I realized I’d
spent all this time writing a book I didn’t love and it was not what I wanted it to
stand for, it was like a very dark month in December for Mary, because there is like a
postpartum element to getting 50,000 words out the first time.
And now I’m, I’m at the bottom and I have two months to climb 50,000 new words,
like this actual mountain felt like it was in front of me. And for me to be able to go
from that, to this book . . . Like the day I turned it in, in February, I was like, ‘Print it
today. I’m proud to have it on shelves. Let’s go, let’s talk about it. I love it. I want it in
everybody’s hands.’
To make that kind of turn around. There’s not a question to me that like I was
transcribing, you know, like I was showing up and I was, I was doing my part, but
God was really the one who showed up and wrote the story. Cause I would sit down
at the keyboard and be like, ‘I have no idea. I’m done. I’m empty.’ And then another
section would come and then another section would come. So yeah, it definitely was
unfolding. I love that word, unfolding. I think that’s really good.
Tanya: It really is. Cause I feel like I have these ideas of where the book is going to go.
And here’s what we’re going to talk about in this chapter. And then suddenly we’re
not, we’re not going there at all. Right? And I think especially like I’m writing a
different style of book than, than what you’ve written because your book is, is deeply
personal. Obviously it’s your story, and the family relationships that you talk about
are incredibly complex, as all family relationships are complex.
And we have these complicated relationships with our families that you present in
this very beautiful way that is–I don’t want to say nonjudgmental because you bring
in your emotions, but you look at it, you had this different perspective with it. For
example, the relationship you have with your father, very complex. Here he is
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dreaming of a different life for you outside of rural West Virginia, buying you books in
kindergarten cause saw a different life for you. But there were, there were a lot of
twists and turns to get to the point where you are now with your dad.
Mary: Yeah. Yeah. You know, he, like you’d mentioned, he had me in workbooks by
the time I started Mrs. Oliver’s Kindergarten class. He had started bringing
workbooks home the year before, and we started in the Kindergarten workbooks.
But when I finished those, we kept going, to the point that in my first day of
Kindergarten, I was at a 6th grade reading and 5th grade math level.
And there’s this part in ‘Dirt’ where I say words have the power to either speak life or
speak death. When they call you smart, you act smart. You rise and fall to what is
expected of you. And when it came to Jr. Best, there was never any question that
much was expected of me. And I had to give this example of when I was four, he just
got it in his head that I should stand up in front of this whole packed church and
recite from memory, not read, but recite the entire poem of ‘Twas the Night Before
Christmas, which is a very long poem, especially when you’re four.
Tanya: It’s a long poem now.
Mary: And right before I went on stage, what he said to me was, ‘Don’t fidget and
don’t mess it up.’ And what’s really funny–this didn’t actually make it in the book,
but when I was a senior in high school, it was really, really, really important to him
that I was president of the Honor Society because when he was in school, the Honor
Society kids picked on him as being kind of like a dumb vo-tech kid. And so like his
way of kind of like showing them was to have a daughter who was the president of
the Honor Society.
And right before we went on stage for our big, you know, end of the year award
show, he said to me, ‘Don’t fidget and don’t mess it up.’
Tanya: Full circle, Dad, full circle.
Mary: Full circle. And so for him, it was not enough that I did well, that I did good for
him. It had to be flawless. It had to be perfect because in his eyes, I really do think
that he believed for anybody in the outside world to give me a shot, to give a kid
from a trailer in rural West Virginia a shot, I was gonna have to be twice as good. You
know, I was going to have to come to the table with all A’s and not give them a
reason to exclude me.
And I think there are a lot of people who can resonate with that, whether you’re a
first generation college student and you feel like your whole family’s expectations
are riding on you, or you’re somebody who you feel like, when you go out into the
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world and somebody looks at you, that they are making judgments about what
you’re capable of, just based on how you look.
And so you, you feel you’ve been told your whole life, you have to show up and be
twice as good as everybody else just to be treated the same. And so I get that, you
know, for us, I think it was more about like where we were from, or maybe like a little
bit about like what we sounded like versus what we looked like with a little bit of an
But for him, whatever it was, he knew that education was my way out and there
could not be a single flaw. It had to be the perfect transcript. It had to be the perfect
grades. It had to be perfection, so as not to give anybody an excuse to turn me away.
Tanya: Mmmm. That’s so much pressure, right?
Mary: Oh my gosh, yeah.
Tanya: You could fold like a house of cards with that kind of pressure. It’s a lot of
expectations. It’s like, you’re holding up everything, every expectation, for your family.
So I wonder, did you feel like an imposter at times when you’re at Yale Law School,
perhaps, or moving through life as you do now as the girl after the trailer versus the
girl in the trailer, which you talk a lot about in the book. Did you sometimes feel like
I’m not supposed to be here? Or this is, this is not my place?
Mary: Oh yeah. All the time. All the time. What’s really kind of cool about Yale is that
the first semester they put you in a small group of about 20 students. So you all have
all of your classes together. I think we had four classes our first semester. And so
you’re moving through, you have your small group class, which for us was contracts,
which is literally just the 20 of you. And then the other three classes are big giant
classrooms, sort of a hundred students or whatever.
And the way that we’re sort of moving through our days throughout the week, we at
least had that core group of people we knew. And the idea was to make it feel a little
less lonely. But to me, what I felt was, so I am the bottom of this list. You know, I’ll be
the bottom of the small group. I’ll be the, the least qualified in the small group. And I
remember just doubting myself that entire first semester, like feeling like I was
going to fail out, which Yale is actually pass-fail.
And the rumor is nobody’s ever failed out. Like the idea is, once you get in, like that’s
the hard part. And then to keep these very intense personalities from melting down,
they make it pass. But so I remember a very cool kind of like, ‘Okay, maybe I can do
this,’ sort of moment. It was our final grade in that small group class of contracts and
we had to argue in front of what was basically an appellate court panel of our
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professor and our two TAs. We had to give oral arguments as our final exam, as one
half of our final exam. We also had a written exam and I went in . . .
You go in by yourself and everybody else is waiting in the hallway. And I give these
very extended oral arguments and the professor goes to give feedback and he’s like,
‘You know, I really don’t have any. You’re the only person that we just–I just really feel
like, you know, maybe you could kind of like, I don’t know, like lift your head a little
higher when you talk, but really that’s about it.’ And I was like, you know, I spent an
entire semester telling myself I wasn’t qualified to be there.
And when it came down to it, like the biggest feedback was, ‘You just need to hold
your head a little higher.’ I think that’s such a metaphor for life is like, we go into
things and we just assume everybody else is more qualified. Everybody else is
smarter. Everybody else is more talented. Everybody else is going to do better in life
than we are.
If we could just calm down enough to listen to the question that’s being asked of us
to show up with the grit and the intelligence that we were naturally given and the
skills that we have honed intentionally over time, we’re going to find that everybody
there is doubting themselves and everybody there is worried that they’re not going
to do as well as they hoped. You know?
And, and I just think that there’s something really powerful about letting go of the
chip on your shoulder, this feeling of ‘I’m, I’m destined to be the least of these.’
Because I know that I’ve spent way too much of my life feeling like I’m destined to be
the least of these. Going back to what you were talking about with my grandma’s
mentality of, ‘I’ll do it myself,’ and my dad’s expectations.
There are such good things that come out of that in terms of grit and determination
and success. But there’s also a shadow side, and that shadow side says, ‘I will always
be in it alone. I will never have the help that I need. I will always have to do it myself.
And I’m only as worthy of love as like that latest gold star or A-plus.’ And if I do go out
and fall short or you know, something less than flawless, if I do fidget and mess it up,
then I won’t be worthy of love.
Tanya: And I think that is, that is the thing that so many, so many of us struggle with:
being worthy, being lovable, right? Feeling like, like we are enough. We just had
these episodes in the past few weeks where we’re talking about why women
hesitate. Why do we, why do we struggle to see ourselves as experts? And I love that
advice of, ‘You need to pick your head up.’ I mean, I think that’s, that’s advice for life
right there that we all just need to pick our heads up and stop overthinking so much.

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You have this beautiful part in the book where you talk about that there’s something
chasing, always chasing close behind and closing in fast: “The big, bad Wolf ripping
at her heels. She runs because if she stops, she knows it just might kill her. I am the
Girl in the Red Cape, but when I turn to look back over my shoulder, breathless and
wild eyes, I see it. I am also the Wolf. And that voice in my head telling me to run and
not to stop running, that it will never be safe for me to stop; the voice is my own.” So I
want to know about this Girl in the Cape and the big, bad Wolf, because both are
you. And I think this is . . . I love how beautifully you’ve written that because I think
this is a struggle for so many women.
Mary: Yeah, well, that was really important to me too, right? Because I think a lot of
times when people look at really high achievers or people who are maybe
Enneagram 3s, they are the Achiever on the Enneagram, or they just see people who
go, ‘Well, I didn’t come from a lot and that’s made me really driven to be successful.’
We were watching the documentary on Michael Jordan. We just started it on his
sixth season, going after a championship. And there’s this part where they go back
to him as a child, and it was talking about how his dad always preferred his brother
to him. And Michael Jordan sitting in this chair is, like a billionaire or whatever he is,
and this huge, huge success gets teary-eyed. And he says, ‘There was a lot of trauma
in that. There’s a lot of trauma that I just felt like I was never making my dad proud.’
And so he kind of, like he said, ‘I walked on the court every single time trying to win
because this light switch got flipped in me,’ basically. And that’s that switch that I’m
talking about.
I think a lot of times when people look at us and they go, ‘Well, I mean, you know,
you didn’t come from a lot, but like you have to like be grateful for it or think it
because it made you who you are and it made you really successful now made you
really driven.’
And it’s not that that’s not true, but people do not understand how visceral and
primal achieving becomes for people like us. So earlier in that section, I say,
‘Achieving was like my oxygen. Perfectionism, the penance I had to pay to show up
in any room.’ And when I say I am running, because I feel like if I stop, it will kill me.
Or, you know, I’m breathless and wild-eyed, I truly mean that I feel like I’ve gotten
better, but there was a time in my life where if I went too long without something
happening or something working or some achievement, it felt like I might suffocate.
It felt like I might, you know, I always like described it as like the guy pushing the
boulder up the mountain.
And if you stop to rest for a second, it’s going to tumble all the way back down and
you’ll have to start over. So I’m running because I’m trying to outrun that trailer. And
I feel like if I stop for a second, I’m going to tumble back down and find myself back
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where I began. So I just feel like people need to understand that those of us who
become really high achievers or high performers because of how we started . . .
Like, we don’t do that to be so successful or to feel better than anybody else. We do it
because we genuinely feel like there’s something sitting on our chest and the only
way to get it to like sit up for a second so we can breathe is to keep going, keep
achieving, keep accumulating, keep checking marks more and more and more and
more until you finally hit that brick wall where you realize there’s no amount of more
that’ll ever make you not feel like less.
Tanya: Yes. And I think this is the thing, Mary, that you’ve done in this book is our
backgrounds could not be more different. And yet you write this section of the book
and I’m like, ‘How did she see me? How did she know this is my life?’ Right? And, like
you, I’m in a moment, a much healthier, much better place, but this idea of . . . ‘You
cannot stop; you cannot let them see you sweat; you cannot fail because failure is
not an option.’ It is exhausting. And I think there are so many other people running
next to us, but we’re so busy looking at our feet, trying to keep from falling that we
don’t see all those women next to us who are just panting away right next to us
thinking the same damn thing.
Mary: Yeah. Oh yeah. That’s so good. That’s so true. And like the thing is we would
never, ever hold that woman next to us to that same standard.
Tanya: Oh, God. No, never, never, no. It’s, it’s this unachievable bar that we set for
ourselves that we are just constantly aiming for. That is, we’re in this constant state
of feeling like a failure when everybody on the outside looks and says, ‘What a
success!’ Right? And we’re thinking, ‘If only you knew all the things I did wrong.’
Mary: And you know what’s ironic about that too, Tanya? Is that the more successful
you become–and I think, I don’t know if that’s, especially as a woman, I want to talk
about like the woman versus man thing you were talking about a second ago–but
the more successful you become the, it’s almost like the lonelier it becomes. Because
people look at you and they assume you’ve already been invited or they look at you
and they assume you already have way too many people to be friends with. Do you
know what I mean? So it’s like, nobody’s like really checking . . .
Tanya: Or you’re too busy!
Mary: Or you’re too busy.
Tanya: ‘Oh, I didn’t want to ask you. You’re too–.’ Yeah.
Mary: Yeah. They just assume that you’re never over there doubting yourself. You’re
never over there struggling.

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Tanya: They don’t know that we’re over in the corner questioning every single thing.
Mary: Yeah. And going back to what you were talking about a second ago with like,
why do women hesitate? Well, I saw this meme once that was like, ‘I aspire one day
to have the confidence of an average middle-aged man.’ You know, I’m like, that’s
nothing against men. You know, I love men. I’m married to a wonderful one, but like I
do think there is something about women where it’s like, you will have the highest of
the high-flyers of women sitting in a room, hesitating, questioning themselves in a
room full of just like C-minus men, you know?
Tanya: Yeah. It’s, it’s true. And that’s not a knock at all against men. It’s like, good,
good for them that they have the confidence. What do we need to do to get a little
bit of that moxie in ourselves that we just feel like, ‘Yep. You know what? I’m pretty
good as I am.’ That’s something that we have to work on.
Mary: Honestly, I think there’s, I mean, there’s all sorts of stuff we could go into about
how little girls are raised. Like little boys are like wired to get knocked down and
then like dust themselves off and keep going and like try stuff and like fall out of the
tree and like break something. And it’s like, ‘Oh, good for you. You’re being like really
rough and tumble.’ And we don’t do that with little girls. We say, ‘Oh my gosh, like
you got something on your dress.’ Or like, ‘Are those the manners?’ You know, or like,
‘Go give that person a hug.’
Tanya: ‘Make sure you’re a lady.’
Mary: Yeah. And I just think that there’s something about encouraging little girls to
try stuff that it might not work out for them. You know, try stuff where you might not
be any good at it the first time. And it’s okay to get mud on your dress, it’s okay to fall
down. It’s okay to try something and end up breaking it because you learned
something. You didn’t fail, you learned something.
And we just, we really expect little girls to be in like a bubble, this little like teacup
pedestal, where we don’t get a blemish on this pristine white Pinafore, you know?
And I just think we really spend the rest of our lives trying to hold it together, to not
to go through life without a blemish, without any spots. And I’m, I don’t know. I’m
just sort of like, there’s something amazing and miraculous about turning 40, which
I didn’t ancitipate. Where I’m like, that tank, whatever that tank is that says
people-please, and like, hold it all together and have that perfect persona or that
perfect image you put forward, it’s just empty. I don’t think it’s going back.
And it’s really amazing. There’s a country song that says, ‘My give-a-dang’s busted.’
Like when you turn 40, it just happens.

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Tanya: I like that. I like that. It’s true.
Mary: And I just I’m ready to go out and try stuff. And like, ‘That didn’t work. Cool. I
learned something, I didn’t fail.’ I learn something and just have that kind of moxie
and that kind of confidence of those guys in the boardroom.
Tanya: Yeah. And I think this is a thing when we, when we choose to own our story,
as you have done through the book ‘Dirt’, when we choose to own our scars, when
we choose to own our path, when we choose to own our failures and look at them,
not as these negatives, not as these things that are blemishes upon us . . . When we
choose to see them as what makes us beautiful, I think that is when we truly step
into who we are authentically, right?
Mary: Yeah. I mean, I had a real realization through writing this book and turning 40
and all of the things, all this perfect timing for how this all lined up, where I just had, I
just really like had a moment of kind of like a flight, you know, as they talk about how
your life will flash before your eyes. I feel like the last few years flashed before my
eyes and I recognized every time I ended up losing connection or losing being able
to draw another woman in or being able to help another woman or have her lean-in
close . . .
It was because, instead of showing up with vulnerability, I showed up with most
put-together-woman-in-the-room, Mary. That version of me, I thought it had to be
just to show up on these stages or show up at these conferences or workshops or
online or whatever. Women like us, we think, and I’m assuming it’s pretty much
every woman, probably at some point, we think we have to be that most
put-together woman in the room.
Like 1% of women maybe do that to make other women feel small. The rest of us do
it because we’re like, ‘That’s just like the, that’s the ticket to entry. That’s the bare
minimum for entry, just for me to even be acceptable in these rooms.’ But what ends
up happening is we put on capes, we put up masks, we put up brick walls, we hold
people at arms. We Heisman them, you know? It’s a Heisman pose. It’s a shiny stiff
arm of perfection.
And what we think that is going to let people accept us and include us and open up
the tables to us and invite us in too, but it just ends up making people around us feel
small and disconnected from us and they feel pushed away. And the more that I just
showed up and said, ‘Oh, you know, what this is is dry shampoo. And you know, my
clothes are wrinkled or whatever.’ Like this thing I thought would make people go
and turn away, that vulnerability is what makes people lean-in.

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And so I had this kind of like, you know, your life flashes before your eyes, all the
times I could have had connection. And instead I just like held people at bay, and I
don’t want to do that anymore.
Tanya: Yeah. I don’t either. I don’t either. It’s time for us to really step into who we are.
So Mary, the book is a beautiful, beautiful book and it’s so well written.
Mary: Thank you.
Tanya: And as I mentioned, your story is different than mine. It might be different
than the women who are listening, but they will connect, just as I did. I just cannot
tell you how much I absolutely loved the book. So thank you so much for coming on
today’s show. I know that the women who are listening today are really starting to
think a little bit about who they are and if they are the Wolf, and if they’re also the
Girl in the Red Cape.
I just loved what Mary had to say there. I really feel like her story truly does resonate.
As I mentioned, it resonates so strongly with me, even though our stories could not
be more different. And that’s what I think you’ll love about her book, ‘Dirt’. It is just
really raw and honest and authentic.
Now, Mary and I took the conversation even deeper and we did some random
questions, which we had a lot of fun with after we stopped recording the show. You
can listen to those by going into my Facebook group. Simply go to
Tanyadalton.com/group, and request an invitation to join. We’d love to have you
there. It’s a great place to connect with like-minded women who want to talk about
productivity, and who want to talk about being intentional with their lives.
So I will be posting those fun, random questions there. And also Mary has very
generously offered to do a giveaway. So she is going to give away one copy of her
book, ‘Dirt’. All you need to do to enter is simply snap a screenshot of this podcast
episode. You can do it right now while you’re listening, and then share with us: What
was your favorite takeaway? What was your favorite thing that Mary shared? Or
what was your favorite thing that we talked about on this show?
And you can post that on Facebook or you can post it on Instagram. Just make sure
to tag me, and I’d love for you to tag Mary as well.
Now, next week on the show, it’s going to be our last episode of this season on
Strategies for Success. And I’ve got a good one planned for us to close the season
out. So be sure to tune in next week.
I really hope that today you’re walking away from this episode, really understanding
that it doesn’t matter who you’ve been in the past or what your upbringing was or
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who you think you are, what matters is who you become. And that happens by
making a choice: choosing who you want to be; choosing to be truly authentically
yourself, that is the intentional advantage.