Rebel Uprising Podcast

The Myth of Messaging as Self-Actualization


It doesn't feel the way I thought it would.

Once my clients land on their Three Word Rebellion–the message they want their business to be known for, the message that they will be leading with–it’s not uncommon for them to say something like, “I thought this would feel different.”

There’s an expectation that landing on your Three Word Rebellion is going to be some type of peak experience. The skies open, heavens part, angels sing, and there are puppies and unicorns everywhere!

There’s the expectation that this message is going to be a realization of their full potential and validate the worth of their work.

But that’s not really the job of your Three Word Rebellion, or any of the messaging you use to market your business.

And maybe web celebs have sold you on the idea that marketing should feel a certain way, but let’s bust through that notion, shall we?


In this episode:

  • How the online business space warps our perception of what our messaging actually represents
  • Why messages of self-actualization aren’t actually great marketing, especially in uncertain times
  • Why your Three Word Rebellion can actually make you feel pretty uncomfortable at first
  • How to separate yourself from your message


Learn more about Michelle Mazur:


Listen on your favorite podcast player or read the Transcript below:


Dr. Michelle Mazur (00:00): It doesn't feel the way I thought it would. Once my clients land on their 3 word rebellion, the message they want their business to be known for, the message that they will be leading with, it's not uncommon from them to say something like, "Ugh, I thought this would feel different."

(00:18): There's this expectation that landing on your 3 word rebellion is going to be some type of peak experience. The skies open, heavens part, angels sing, and there are puppies and unicorns everywhere. There's this expectation that this message was going to be a realization of their full potential and validate the worth of their work.

(00:47): But that's not really the job of your 3 word rebellion or any of the messaging you use to market your business. So on today's episode of the Pod, let's bust through this notion that messaging should feel a certain way, because trust me, my friends, the web celebs on the internet make you think that it should. So let's do this.

(01:24): Get ready for the Rebel Uprising Podcast, the only podcast dedicated to business owners who feel overlooked for their expertise, skills and experience. Let's claim your expertise, and turn your complex ideas into unmistakable messaging that grows your business. I am your host, Dr. Michelle Mazur, the author of The 3 Word Rebellion, and your rebel truth-telling guide to building a business that gets noticed.

(01:54): If you think that your message should feel a certain way when you land on it, don't worry. You are not alone. So many of my clients and readers of The 3 Word Rebellion book feel like their message should be an epiphany. The reason why this happens is how messaging is sold in the online space, and before we debunk how messaging is presented by the web celebs, I think it's important to revisit one of the seminal theories of human motivation: Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs.

(02:34): You remember Maslow, right? It's a theory of human motivation that is taught in most psychology classes, and I taught it in almost every communication class I have ever taught as a professor. Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs is often visualized as a pyramid.

(02:53): At the base of the pyramids are physiological needs: food, shelter, sleep and sex. In the middle of the pyramids are the need for safety and security, so personal safety, employment, security, resources, and good health. And then this is followed by belonging needs, which include love, intimacy, relationships, friendships, and the feeling that we belong to a community that is bigger than ourself. Then comes the esteem needs, such as being respected or recognized and having personal freedom, and we end with self actualization where we reach our full potential.

(03:44): Maslow asserted that so long as our basic needs for survival are met, food, water, shelter, feeling safe, having stability, our higher-level needs, the social needs, the needs for esteem and recognition, would begin to motivate our behavior. And I believe that in the online business world, we've flipped that pyramid. Much of the messaging in the online space is about reaching your full potential first, and then your basic needs will be met. So let's get meta with this and look at how messaging is often talked about in the online space and how that leads you to believe that your message should feel a certain way to you.

(04:41): Most of the messaging we hear about messaging is that messaging is an expression of you, and when you express yourself, you can magnetize and hypnotize the right clients with your message. We hear messages like, "You are your message"; "Your message comes from your mess, and that is the mess you have overcome to realize your full potential"; "Share your stories and your clients will come"; and "The story you should be sharing is the story about reaching your full potential", some kind of rags-to-riches ploy.

(05:19): And the argument here is that if you show others that you are self-actualized, that you are living your best life and you have reached your full potential, then you'll be able to meet your own basic needs, so the needs for food and shelter and security and stability.

(05:43): If you are listening to this podcast and realizing that, "Hey, you know what? I'm not having the sales that I want to have. My business isn't generating the revenue it should be generating," then it might be time for you to work on your message and figure out that comprehensive strategy for how to build that argument for your work and turn people who don't know you at all into people who are ready and willing to sign up to work with you. And this is exactly the work we do in The 3 Word Rebellion Messaging Intensive.

(06:27): So if you're digging this episode and you're thinking, "Yes, this is my next step, or it could be my next step," then I encourage you to go to, that's, and apply for a free consultation call. That way, you and I can discuss if messaging is the right move for your business. Now, back to the show.

(07:01): Now, when economic times are great, I can see why this messaging is so appealing. It's reminding you that you are special, and people will pay to be in your presence because you're recognized and you've realized your potential, and that feels really good. It contributes to this notion that your messaging should feel a certain way. It should create this peak experience, this epiphany moment. And there are some messaging coaches, when you work with them, who will want you to describe your five bravest moves you've ever made, and then they tell you that's the key part of your message: showing that you are brave and that you've done the hard thing. That is what's going to move people to want to work with you. Except, side note, spoiler alert, it does not.

(08:00): And here's the deal. Right now, we are navigating an economic downturn, and I am hearing from more and more people that their businesses have slowed down. And all of a sudden, our basic needs, our physiological needs, our safety needs, take precedence, which means messaging around how self-actualized you are isn't as effective, and I'll be talking more about how to make your message relevant in an economic downturn in the next episode.

(08:37): But overall, I think people see their message as meeting the needs for esteem and self-actualization. And so it's why I think people think their 3 word rebellion, their marketing message, is going to make them feel a certain way; that it is going to feel good and easy and like this breakthrough moment, like, "Ooh, I have this message and now I have made it." But the reality of landing on the message you want to lead with? It can feel really different.

(09:15): And yes, I've seen clients where, once they've landed on their 3 word rebellion, it does feel like a moment of coming home. The, "Yes, I have finally found it." And for most of these clients, they have been on a journey for years to find that message. But many times for my clients, finding their 3 word rebellion feels uncomfortable, because most 3 word rebellions say something no one else in your industry is saying.

(09:51): And yes, there's an upside. That is how you stand out and show that you're different is that you are saying something different. You are saying something that is going to repel people and maybe even piss some people off. And that's okay, because at the same time, that message is going to draw the right people to you. So it can feel really uncomfortable, like you're hitting the edge with that message. It can also feel awkward, because your message, the new way you're talking about your business, is pretty much a stranger to you, and you're not familiar with it yet. You've not been using it. So it can feel awkward and weird, and you can know that this is the right message and still feel weird about it.

(10:45): And heck, it might even be terrifying to you, because it's calling you into greater visibility, right? It's calling you to champion the message. And I know for me, and I talk about this in The 3 Word Rebellion book, when I landed on the 3 word rebellion message, I didn't tell my husband for a week about it, because it felt so big, it felt so scary, and so uncomfortable, because I knew that this was going to usher in the next phase of my business. And sometimes it just takes courage to show up and be known for something.

(11:34): And this brings me to: what is the real relationship between you, your business, and your message? And this real relationship is why that message can feel so uncomfortable or awkward to you.

(11:53): So you and your message are two separate entities, just like you and your business are two separate entities. Your message has a very specific job to do in your business. Its goal is to help people who don't know you yet become aware, grab their attention, make them curious. Then the next job it needs to do is persuasion, through creating conversations that lead people to work with you. And then finally, it's to foster that connection, and this is where your story fits in. It builds the know, like and trust.

(12:39): And yes, while you need to champion your message, you are not your message. Your message is not you. Its responsibility is to not make you feel a certain way. The rebel truth? Messaging is meant to make your potential client feel a certain way, not to be an expression or a validation of your work in this world. The bottom line is you want your right clients to respond to your messaging. What your right clients respond to might not be the most comfortable feeling in the world for you.

(13:26): And there's an upside to this, right? When we realize that our message is this entity that exists outside of us, when someone says no to our message, they are rejecting the message, not you as a human. Because when we're all wrapped up with you are your message, when people say no, and they will, they're rejecting you. It feels personal. But when you see your message as having a function in your business, a job to be done in your business, people saying no is natural, and it doesn't mean anything about you. Untangle yourself from your message. Center it on your audience. Create your 3 word rebellion and all the messaging that supports your business for the people who can be served by it.

(14:26): If the Rebel Uprising Podcast is helping you claim and communicate your expertise so that your clients can find and hire you, please share the show with a friend. The easiest way to do that is through You can find the show at, and that page will allow anyone you share the show with to subscribe and start listening in their favorite podcast player. That's The Rebel Uprising Podcast is a production of Yellow House Media. Our production coordinator is Lou Blazer. Our production assistant is Emily Kilber. The podcast is edited by Steven Mills. Our executive producers are Sean and Tara McMullin. The Rebel Uprising Podcast is recorded on the unseated traditional land of the Coast Salish Peoples, specifically, the First People of Seattle, the Duwamish people, original stewards of the land, past and present.

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