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The Ultimate Guide to Radical Self-Expression: How to Harness the Power of YOU to Build a Thriving Business in a Wildly Unpredictable Marketplace

So much of what worked in online marketing, sales and communication is officially dead and people have been scrambling to figure out their next move.

A lot of entrepreneurs are beyond frustrated because it feels like no matter what they do — no matter how much time, money and energy they invest in sales and marketing and website optimization and all the rest — they just can’t seem to move the needle in their business.

And that’s not all…

The market is overcrowded, overloaded and overflowing with low-quality products and audiences are increasingly frustrated and burned out.

They can’t tell the difference between entrepreneurs who are offering real, deep value and those who don’t have a clue what they’re doing… so they’re not clicking on that “buy” button like they used to.

But all is not lost… in fact, I think this new era equals tremendous opportunity!

Because we’re now in what I like to call The Age of Real… 

The age of truth, honesty and integrity…

The age of what I like to call radical self-expression.

And I’m passionate about this because I know it’s the only reliable way to build a successful business in today’s wildly unpredictable marketplace.

Which is why in this guide, I’ll be taking you deep into the unlimited power of radical self-expression…

Because if you don’t take the time to discover and tap into your own radical self-expression, you’re going to find yourself lost, left behind…

And out of business.

Chapter One: What is Radical Self-Expression? 3 Exercises to Try Today

It was 1999 and I was an intern at the World Paper.

Back then, I was thinking of studying journalism but was up against a big problem… I couldn’t write an interesting article to save my life!

Everything I wrote was a total snooze fest and for a long time, I couldn’t figure out why.

I was being a “good journalist” and following every rule, word for word. I kept trying to “dumb it down” for the readers, “kiss the lead” and make sure I didn’t share an opinion (aka be totally neutral) but none of it worked and my stories fell flat.

Then one day, my editor at the paper asked a simple, powerful question…

“Marisa, are you having fun?”

And that’s when it hit me… I wasn’t having fun. Not even a little bit.

So I threw out the rule book and made it my mission to have as much fun as possible by being myself on the page…

And I’m happy to say that the editorial I wrote received a ton of engagement from readers.

I didn’t see it then but I was practicing radical self-expression…

And it’s the ONLY reason why my words came to life, jumped off the page, grabbed people’s attention…

And didn’t let go!

What Makes You Tick & What Ticks You Off

In a world where everyone’s talking about the same thing the same way and people are fed-up with overused marketing and sales messages…

Radical self-expression shines like a diamond in the dust.

It lets you stand out, be seen and heard by all the right people and it’s based on a simple, unbreakable rule…

Be yourself or be ignored.

Radical self-expression is basically about showing up as yourself no matter how boring, how different or how crazy you think you are 🙂

It’s about letting people know what makes you tick and what ticks you off. It’s the secret sauce to building a loving, loyal customer base of people happy to buy everything you put out there because YOU made it.

So here’s the thing…

Only you can give yourself permission to practice radical self-expression…

Only you can step up, speak up and allow yourself to be who you truly are in your business and not a weak imitation of someone else.

So if you’ve been hiding in the shadows, it’s time to step out and embrace radical self-expression because the world needs you to be YOU…

We need every single authentic voice we can get because authenticity breeds curiosity, creativity and growth…

The stuff that leads to world-changing — world-saving — ideas and innovations.

Exercises in Radical Self-Expression

So you might be thinking, “Radical self-expression sounds great and all, Marisa, but what do I do? How do I work with it?”

First thing first… be patient with yourself.

Like anything worth doing, radical self-expression takes time and practice… and yes, it’s a LOT easier said than done!

So here’s what I want you to do…

Start by practicing radical self-expression with these 3 exercises.

Each one is guaranteed to stretch you out of your comfort zone, build your courage and help you stay resilient in the face of judgment and criticism.

The more you work with these exercises, the stronger you’ll feel and the better you’ll get at being YOU in your business so you can easily stand out from the crowd, attract all the right clients and customers and build a successful business no matter what else is going on in the marketplace.

And it’s going to feel scary but I promise it’s worth it!

Exercise #1 

Think of a song you like… preferably something that’s easy and fun to sing (even Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star will work :-))

Next, go to a public place. This could be the middle of the street outside your home, the neighborhood park or your local Starbucks.

Now start singing your song as loudly as you can… and don’t stop no matter what happens!

I want you to try this even if you think you can’t sing…

And your mission — should you choose to accept it (and I hope you do!) — is to complete this exercise sometime in the next 72 hours…

Bonus points if you do it in the next 24 🙂

Take it up a notch: Sing your heart out in a crowded elevator (billionaire inventor of Spanx, Sara Blakely, does this whenever she wants an extra large shot of brave).

Exercise #2

This one’s a personal favorite 🙂

When someone asks how you’re doing, resist knee-jerk responses like “I’m great” or “I’m just fine” or “I’m doing good.”

Instead, take a moment to reflect on how you really feel before you reply. Then, aim to tell the whole truth and nothing but the truth…

And be 100% honest.

So we actually did something like this at a dinner party with my dear friend Sage Lavine and the question at the table was…

What’s your biggest personal edge?

Sage went first and talked so deeply and honestly about the edges in her business and relationship that she inspired the rest of us.

It cracked open everyone else’s shares after that and brought us all so much closer together…

And that’s what radical self-expression does.

It brings you closer to the people in your life and business, it allows you to be who you truly are…

And it gives others permission to do the same.

Take it up a notch: When you get the “how are you doing” question, avoid one-word answers… keep talking for at least a minute or two!

Exercise #3

Word of warning: this next exercise is a great way to grow your “radical self-expression muscle,” but don’t attempt it until you’ve built up some resilience with the first 2 exercises.

This exercise is about sharing one of your deepest, darkest secrets with a friend or family member — someone you know and trust — and here’s the deal…

I want you to go all out. Pour your heart out and don’t hold back.

So my husband Murray and I had “a dark secret” moment a few years ago where he shared something I didn’t know about after years and years of marriage.

I asked him what his most embarrassing moment was as a child and it broke my heart when he told me that his deepest childhood embarrassment wasn’t a specific situation or experience…

He was embarrassed about who he was.

He didn’t like his name or what he looked like — he had to wear glasses and braces.

He was introverted and preferred spending time with computers rather than people, and the other kids picked on him because of it all.

When he shared this with me, my heart opened up to him even more… and I had insight into why he can be sensitive around some things that don’t bother me as much.

So I know that sharing a deep, dark secret isn’t going to be fun or easy but you’ll be surprised at what it can do for you and for the people you share your story with.

Take it up a notch: Share your secret with more than one person… maybe 2 to 3 people you trust.

There’s Always Room for One More…

People who change the world are the ones who dare to be themselves, even in the face of harsh judgment or criticism or massive pushback… think of Malala Yousafzai or Nelson Mandela or Greta Thunberg.

So when it comes to your business, keep in mind that no matter how saturated the market gets, no matter how “burned out” audiences are…

There’s always room for one more authentic voice…

There’s always room for someone who wants to do powerful, transformational work…

There’s always room for the one who’s willing to go the extra mile, push past the norm and make a REAL difference… and you know what?

If you’re reading this, I already know that someone is YOU 🙂

Chapter Two: How Not Being Perfect on Social Media Can Explode Your Audience and Attract Buyers Who Love Your Unique Kind of “Weird”

So now that you know the why and some of the how behind the art of radical self-expression, let’s take things up a notch (or 10!)…

Let’s talk about using radical self-expression in social media to build a strong community of raving fans and followers…

People who’ll love you, connect with you and buy from you just because you’re YOU 🙂 

We’re Not Gary Vee BUT…

Most people have a pretty uncomplicated relationship with social media.

They either love it or hate it and there’s no in-between.

I’ve been kind of allergic to social media pretty much from Day One (you can find out more about my out-of-the-ordinary relationship with it in this video).

And I’m the first to admit that I’m nothing like Gary Vaynerchuk who never gets tired of showing up raw and unedited on YouTube, Instagram… or TikTok for that matter!

So I know a lot of entrepreneurs are a lot more like me and a lot less like Gary Vee.

They don’t enjoy revealing gritty behind-the-scenes stuff in their business and they’re not comfortable ripping off their masks — those carefully crafted personas we all take on — when people are watching.

And that’s because most of us want the world to see the best version of who we are and not the mistakes and the mess-ups.

But here’s the thing…

Entrepreneurs who are unafraid to share both the good days and the crappy ones, those who are brave enough to practice radical self-expression and show up fully as themselves…

Those are the ones who are kicking some serious bu$$ when it comes to sales, sign-ups and subscribers!

So here’s what you need to know…

Love it or hate it, social media isn’t going away anytime soon and the truth is you can’t afford to ignore it and you can’t afford to be anyone other than YOU when you’re posting and sharing… 

Not if you’re planning to stay in business for more than a year or two!

Here’s an “Indecent” Proposal… 

If you know me, you know I don’t do things halfway.

And one of my favorite personal mantras and also one of our company values at Live Your Message is…

All in like a Bad-Ass Boss 🙂 

So what this means is we go ALL in and we hold nothing back. We say what we mean and mean what we say and we’re not into blaming, shaming or judging.

We believe in taking ownership and responsibility of every situation and we know that if something’s going to change, it’s down to us to make it happen… and so we make it happen.

We step up and do what it takes, even when it’s hard — especially when it’s hard — and at the end of the day, we’re all in, like a bad-ass boss because that’s just the kind of people we are!

So in the spirit of All in Like a Bad-Ass Boss, here’s my “indecent proposal” to you and everyone in the Live Your Message Community…

Let’s commit. Let’s go all in. Let’s take off our masks and practice radical self-expression on Facebook or Instagram or TikTok or whatever your favorite platform happens to be.

So I know some people might be wondering if I’ve lost my mind and maybe that’s you!

Maybe you’re thinking, “Marisa… are you crazy? There’s NO WAY I’m practicing radical self-expression on social media. That’s like putting out a “welcome” sign so the haters and the critics can take their best shot!”

But here’s the thing…

Being YOU on a major social platform is one of the best things you can do for your business right now.

I’d even say it’s the only real way to tap into the unlimited power of Facebook and Instagram and all the rest.

Radical self-expression on social media can lead you to aligned opportunities and partnerships and explosive growth in your subscriber list and your audience.

Plus, being you on social will attract all the right clients and customers who’ll genuinely love you and everything you put out there… flaws and all 🙂

So if that’s something you think is worth your time, energy and effort, if you know you have it in you to push past your comfort zone and get real with yourself and your audience…

I’ve got 3 empowering practices I want you to try.

They’re designed to help you build strong, foundational skills to express who you are as you are on social media. 

Each one will move you closer and closer to the place where you can be boldly and bravely unscripted, unrehearsed and unabashedly YOU…

A place where radical self-expression becomes second nature.

Practice #1: Drop Sasha Fierce

Did you know Beyoncé was a super shy kid when she was growing up?

I know that’s hard to believe, especially if you’ve watched her perform live. She’s out there larger than life, wowing the crowd… soaking up all the admiration and attention.

So how the heck does a shy kid take the stage — and the world — by storm?

In an interview early in her singing career, Beyoncé revealed that when she was onstage, she wasn’t Beyoncé…

She was Sasha Fierce.

Sasha was Beyoncé’s alter ego — her avatar — the part of her that was bold, brazen and ultra-confident.

The part of her that didn’t know how to be shy or awkward and could perform in front of millions without missing a beat.

Beyoncé stepped into her Sasha Fierce avatar every time she needed to get on stage or do an interview or anything else…

Until the day she realized she didn’t need Sasha anymore because shy Beyoncé could do everything Sasha did.

And that’s exactly what I want for you.

I want you to create an alter ego — an avatar, a persona — that can breeze through the social media stuff that feels awkward or scary or nerve-wracking to you right now.

Maybe that’s getting in front of the camera for a quick TikTok or sharing a behind-the-scenes look at your life on Instagram…

Basically, all the things that you resist doing.

Give your avatar a name and a personality. Give them traits and skills — courage, confidence, authority, authenticity, charisma — anything and everything you think you need to practice radical self-expression.

Imagine transforming into this powerful character whenever you hit record or press publish.

Keep going until you know you don’t need your avatar to get real on social media and you can finally do what Beyoncé did…
Drop Sasha Fierce 🙂

Practice #2: Look Through Empowered Eyes

This one might feel a little uncomfortable initially, but I want you to try it because the results are beyond worth it. 

Think back to your childhood — maybe when you were in grade school or middle school – and recall the most humiliating thing that happened to you.

Then I want you to replay the whole thing — scene by scene — in your mind. See the incident like you’re watching it play out on a movie screen and here’s the most important part…

Look at it from the perspective of whatever age you happen to be right now.

In other words, I want you to “watch” a humiliating childhood incident through the eyes of your adult self.

And when you do that, you’ll feel something magical start to happen…

The pain, the emotion, the “sharp” uncomfortable feelings that you experienced start to lose their edge and you’ll realize that it wasn’t really as bad as you thought it was when you were a kid.

So I want you to do this when you feel like you’re freaking out because you need to record or share something on Facebook or Instagram.

I want you to look at the entire experience through the eyes of your adult self.

Because a lot of the time, when we’re faced with something scary or challenging, we unconsciously revert to a much younger age than we are now and we think, “Oh my gosh, something bad is going to happen to me!”

But the truth is nothing bad is going to happen if your Livestream kinda bombs or no one “hearts” your post!

The truth is you’ll be just fine and you’ll definitely live another day and have a second, third, fourth or 10th chance to get better at being yourself on social media… 

And you’ll understand this and feel this on a deep level when you can view it all through the eyes of the empowered adult that you are today…

And not through the eyes of the frightened child you once were.

Practice #3: Become a Cyber Stalker 

Just to be clear…

This isn’t about cyberstalking someone in a creepy way!

I’m talking about paying close attention to the rawest, most authentic leader you know and admire so you can learn from them. 

I want you to watch their videos for a few minutes every day, follow them on Facebook and Instagram or TikTok, and if you get the chance, attend a live event where they’re speaking or presenting.

Make sure you choose someone who’s real and authentic… someone who’s practicing radical self-expression.

Ideally, this should be a leader who regularly goes way beyond what you feel is comfortable expression on social media.

The idea is to watch them, follow them and connect with them.

I want you to feel inspired by their energy and their authenticity to the point where it ignites your motivation, and you can go out there and start to be as fearless and as real as they are — in your own way.

Nothing’s Burning Down or Blowing Up

Radical self-expression on social media isn’t for the faint of heart and it’s definitely NOT easy.

So allow yourself time and space to experiment and push the edges of your comfort zone a little more every day.

And when you start to notice your audience becoming more engaged and more responsive to who you truly are…

When your subscriber list and sales numbers begin to go way up…

And you see that nothing’s burning down or blowing up and you’re absolutely safe…

You’ll feel stronger, more confident and more grounded in yourself and who you are.

In time, you’ll get to the place where being yourself and being totally real on Facebook or Instagram or YouTube or whatever it happens to be is as easy and natural to you as breathing and that’s when social media stops being a burden… 

And transforms into this empowering space where you get to show up, be yourself, serve others from the heart and create a successful, profitable business you love 🙂

Before you go…

Which one of these 3 practices are you planning on doing first? Share in the comments… I’d love to know!

Chapter Three: A Case Study in Amassing Loyal Fans & Followers on Social Media. How These 3 do it (and How You Can Too)

I’ve worked with thousands of students and clients in personal branding and marketing for over 11 years now and here’s what I know for sure…

Your gifts and skills or what you actually DO, make up about 20% of why people choose to buy from you.

The other 80%? It’s about who you are and how you show up in the world.

The problem is so many entrepreneurs miss this point. 

They spend most of their time – if not ALL their time – getting unbelievably good at what they do but almost no time understanding their energy and expressing who they are…

And this is what radical self-expression is all about.

The good news is success leaves clues and just like if you want to be a successful novelist or artist or filmmaker, you’d want to study, absorb and analyze the greatest books, artwork and movies of all time…

So if you want to be a rockstar entrepreneur, you need to study — or cyberstalk — online personalities who’ve achieved the kind of success you’re looking for 🙂

So in this final section of how to practice radical self-expression, we’re going to take a look at 3 people who are killing it on social media…

I’m talking about Rachel Pedersen, Gary Vee and Trae Crowder.

We’ll break down some of the key elements that fuel these powerhouse personalities: their message, their social media platforms, their overall energy and how they show up for millions of fans and followers.

The first (and most important) thing you need to understand is that their incredible popularity has almost nothing to do with what they do and everything to do with who they are 🙂

The Truth About Rachel Pedersen, Gary Vee and Trae Crowder

So, let’s start with Rachel Pedersen.

Rachel’s mission is to help busy people with big dreams build thriving businesses without sacrificing their family, friends or sanity.

And with her message, she takes a no-holds-barred approach to starting and growing a business… not sugarcoating the high valleys and the low, low peaks of entrepreneurship.

So Rachel has amassed solid followings on YouTube, Facebook and Instagram. But her big channel is TikTok, where she currently has over 1.1 million followers. 

So what’s her secret? Why does her audience absolutely love her?

Well, Rachel isn’t afraid to be REAL and she isn’t afraid to share exactly what’s in her mind and in her heart.

She radiates strong and authentic energy every time she’s on camera.

Plus, she consistently shares actionable tips and advice that her audience can implement immediately (remember, it’s NOT about you… it’s about your audience). 

And she never fails to be open and vulnerable no matter what’s going on in her personal life or business.


I’m learning this whole introvert thing as I go – and so far it’s blowing my mind…. I feel so at peace and true to myself! iintrovertiintrovertproblemsiintrovertlifeintrovertstruggles #introverted #extrovertsbelike #exextrovert

♬ original sound – Rachel Pedersen | Social Media

Next up, we have one of the most popular — if not the most popular online personalities — Gary Vaynerchuk.

Gary Vee has been blowing up on social media since the day social media became a thing.

He has an incredibly strong presence on YouTube (over 4 million subscribers), Instagram (10 million followers) and Facebook (5.8 million followers).

His latest social media conquest? TikTok!

He was one of the first marketers to promote the enormous potential and relevance of TikTok for marketers, brands and businesses. And his account has already attracted nearly 15 million followers.

So here’s what’s behind his explosive popularity year after year after year…

Gary Vee is a master at being Gary Vee no matter what (this is radical self-expression at its best!)

His take-no-prisoners attitude, plus his unparalleled skill at triggering real emotion in his viewers and readers, make him a formidable — and unforgettable — force of nature on social media.

Gary’s overall message is about being bold in your life choices and doing what’s right for you, and his energy is passionate, powerful and oh-so-direct… it’s almost confrontational!

Check out this clip to see what I mean:

And finally, we have Trae Crowder

Trae is a comedian and author known as “The Liberal Redneck.”

His unique, take-no-prisoners point of view combined with his “redneck” accent (that’s how he refers to it… so don’t come at me!) has generated a significant presence on Facebook (1.2 million followers), YouTube (423K subscribers), TikTok (601K followers) and Twitter (327K followers).

Trae is a perfect example of sharing YOUR message even if it alienates a large group of people.

But that’s a good thing! Because those people aren’t his audience — and by practicing radical self-expression every day — Trae has attracted a loyal and engaged following of his ideal audience who absolutely LOVE his message (and buy tickets to his shows).

As I like to say, you have to repel in order to attract and Trae is a shining example of this!

So don’t compromise yourself and your message on social media by trying to attract everyone.

Check out this video where Trae gives his take on empathy (which is a valuable watch no matter what side of the political aisle you land)…

Becoming Absolutely Irresistible By Being Fully YOU 

So what do Rachel Pedersen, Gary Vee and Trae Crowder have in common? What makes them stand out and continue to be irresistible to millions of people?  

They’re crystal clear on who they are and they’re fearless in the way they show up for their audience. 

They’re authentic, unique and they don’t hold back. 

They’re much-loved multi-millionaires because they understand their message and their energy on a deep level and they practice radical self-expression without compromise, every single time they speak, write and share.

 Just to be clear…

Your message is basically the words you use to capture the heart of your business, your brand, your products and services.

And your energy is that deeper essence of who you are. It’s what people feel when you walk into a room… even when you don’t say a word! 

Radical self-expression is about understanding your message and your energy so you can be fully YOU at all times and it’s about being responsible for how you come across, the impression you make and the experience you create for others. 

And when you get to the place of uncompromising radical self-expression — like Rachel Pedersen, Gary Vee and Trae Crowder — you’ll be unafraid to communicate as who you truly are whether you’re speaking onstage, on camera or sharing a blog post or email.

Turn Your BIG Entrepreneur Dreams Into a Reality

Thanks for reading my ultimate guide to practicing radical self-expression! I hope it gave you just the inspiration you need to start to put what I shared into place today. 

Are you ready to build a business that stands the test of time?

A business that gives you the life you’ve only dreamed of?

Then, you need to discover your True North Business (the one you’re meant to build).

And that’s what you’ll uncover in my free, 60-minute Masterclass — Discover the Business You’re Truly Meant to Build & How to Share It With the World

So if you’re ready to build a business on a rock-solid foundation — instead of one built on sand — save your seat!

And before you go…

How would you describe your energy? What are 3 words you’d use to describe your essence and how you show up in the world?

I’ll go first… my 3 words are authentic, challenging and truthful 🙂

Don’t be shy! Go ahead and share your words below. I personally read and reply to every, single comment.

Love it? Hate it? Let me know...

  1. Andras Zubriczky Avatar
    Andras Zubriczky

    Be real! Speak to truth!

    1. Shannon Goodell Avatar
      Shannon Goodell

      Awesome, Andras! Thanks for sharing!

  2. Michael Lee Avatar
    Michael Lee

    That is a good reminder to be yourself and real.

    1. Shannon Goodell Avatar
      Shannon Goodell

      Thanks for reading, Michael! Marisa appreciates it!

  3. Khuthala Avatar

    Welcoming, Independent, Curious

    1. Shannon Goodell Avatar
      Shannon Goodell

      Thanks for sharing!

  4. Mary Keeney Avatar
    Mary Keeney

    compassionate, curious, persistent

    1. Shannon Goodell Avatar
      Shannon Goodell

      Awesome Mary! Thanks for sharing!

  5. Mitch Avatar

    Authentic, caring and liberating

    1. Shannon Goodell Avatar
      Shannon Goodell

      Love this, Mitch! Thanks for sharing 🙂

  6. Omananda Avatar

    Presence, confronting, daring.

    1. Shannon Goodell Avatar
      Shannon Goodell

      Love these, Omananda! Thanks for sharing 🙂

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