My dad reached his hand across the table and put it on my arm and he said: “Shhh, someone might hear you.”
We were at a restaurant in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Just me and him and his wife. And I get a little bit excited if you haven’t noticed when I’m talking, so I was gesturing. I was talking a little bit loudly. I was telling a story. I was happy and interested in what I was saying… and he was embarrassed by it. Because his daughter was loud and happy and joyful and had something to say.
And my mom? She was raised in Thailand and she taught me that children should be seen and not heard — that I should respect my elders, that I should be quiet.
So my whole family told me not to express who I was. They told me it was better to stay quiet. Not to rock the boat. My whole family said, “Don’t rock the boat, Marisa. Don’t rock the boat, Marisa. Don’t be so loud. Don’t be so happy.”
But, you know what?
That’s who I am!!!
So they were telling me not to be precisely who I am. They told me not to express when it’s my whole life. It’s the reason why I was born — to express.
So here’s the thing: You don’t need permission from anybody to be more of who you are. You have to give yourself that permission, because nobody can give it to you.
In fact everybody else around you — your parents, your siblings perhaps, even your partner and your friends — will tell you to zip it up. To be somebody else. To show that good game face. To pretend like you’ve got it all together. To hold back parts of yourself. When it’s those parts that make you who you are. That make you interesting and dynamic and someone that somebody wants to do business with, someone that someone wants to follow and connect with.
Because, guess what?
You’re who you are.
You’re not pretending in the same game that everybody else is pretending in. You are the actor in your own life, not in somebody else’s life. The very moment when you take off the mask, you put it on the shelf once and for all, and you say:
“Here I am. This is who I am. I’m not holding back. I don’t care what anybody else thinks. Because I must’ve been put on this earth to be who I am, because why else would I here?”
That’s the moment when you step forward and Be the Superhero to Your Tribe. Because the world needs to hear your message. The world is begging for you to express — all of it. Not just in words, but in how you’re being, how you’re saying what you’re saying.
Don’t let anyone reach across the table like my dad did that day and tell you to be quiet.
Because if you’ve got something to say, then you better say. Because who else is going to say it?
We’re all sitting around waiting for somebody else, anybody else to say the things that we’re thinking about. And in the meantime, life goes by and every single year that you spend not saying what you’re here to say, not being who you’re meant to be, not doing what you really want to do. You’re living somebody else’s life.
And when are you going to live your own? When are you going to do exactly what you were born to do?
Because I really want to see all of you.
You don’t need anybody else’s permission to express yourself. No one. Not a single person. Except yourself.
So I invite you to fully Live Your Message. To express it. To shout it to the hilltops. To sing: “The hills are alive with the sound of music.” The sound of your message.
Because when you do that. Oh my God, you become worth listening to. You become worth following. You become someone who’s sharable, but most of all someone who’s lovable.
How can people fall in love with you, if you’re not being YOU?
So that day in that restaurant in Santa Fe, I realized that this was the last time that I would ever let someone silence me.
And I’ve lived my life taking off the muzzle. I’ve lived my life speaking up for myself, for others. And I’ve lived my life encouraging others to speak up for themselves. Because that is how we change the world.
If you’re ready to express yourself fully in business and write your love letter to the world, then join us at our annual Message to Money Live event. Get your ticket here.