Earlier this year, I was interviewed by Miriam Schulman, host of The Inspiration Place, a podcast where Miriam offers education and inspiration to others who are on their creative journeys.

Miriam believes that the creative journey is a thrilling adventure, and it’s filled with ups and downs. It’s about taking risks, stepping out of your comfort zone, and embracing your unique artistic voice, and this is a replay of my interview, where Miriam asks me to share my own creative career adventures. I also share my thoughts on perfectionism and how it can hold us back from pursuing our creative endeavors, the value of prioritizing self-care and the role it plays in our creativity, as well as self-belief as a crucial component of achieving our creative goals.

It was a blast hanging out with Miriam Schulman, and I hope you enjoy listening to this episode as much as I enjoyed spending time with Miriam on her podcast, The Inspiration Place.

In this Episode

2:30 – Introduction
10:33 – Marisa’s journey
12:29 – Marisa: The OG Hannah Montana
15:31 – Dealing with Perfectionism
18:35 – Just Get Started!!
21:09 – Challenge: An Opportunity for Growth
22:09 – M.E.D.S. for Self-care
28:13 – Performance Mastery Coaching Program

Find Miriam Online:


Putting yourself first is important because it allows you to prioritize your own needs and well-being, which in turn can help you be more productive, creative, and fulfilled in all areas of your life. By taking care of yourself first, you are better equipped to care for others and contribute positively to the world around you.



Visit the A Voice and Beyond Youtube channel to watch back the video replay of this guest interview or to see my welcome video.

Episode Transcription

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  00:00

Hey, it’s Maris Lee here and I have some really exciting news to share with you. Just recently, I launched my performance mastery coaching program, which has been designed to help a forming artists and other creatives just like you to take center stage in their lives. Whether you’re mid career and simply feeling stuck, or you’re someone who is just about to embark on your career journey, and need help getting started, my unique coaching program is for you. To celebrate the launch. I’m currently offering a free 30 minute discovery session, so you can learn more about the program and how I can help you go to the next level in your life. My first intake is already seeing incredible results. So don’t miss out, go visit drmarisaleenaismith.com/coaching, or just send me a direct message and let’s get chatty. Remember, there’s no time like now to take center stage in your life.

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  01:23

It’s Marisa Lee here and I’m so excited to be sharing today solo round episode with you. Whether you’re a member of the voice, community, or beyond your voice is your unique gift. And my mission, which has been inspired by my own personal and professional journey is to empower you to share your gift with others. Now is the time for you to discover your voice in life, develop a positive mindset and become the best and most authentic version of yourself to create greater impact. Ultimately, you can take charge, and you can become the director of your own life. It’s time for you to live your best life. It’s time now for a voice and beyond. So without further ado, let’s go to today’s episode.

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  02:30

Earlier this year, I was interviewed by Miriam Schulman, host of The Inspiration Place a podcast where Miriam offers education and inspiration to others who are on their creative journeys. Miriam believes that the creative journey is a thrilling adventure. And it’s filled with ups and downs. It’s about taking risks, stepping out of your comfort zone, and embracing your unique artistic voice. And this is a replay of my interview where Miriam asks me to share my own creative career adventures. I also share my thoughts on perfectionism and how it can hold us back from pursuing our creative endeavors, the value in prioritizing self-care and the role it plays in our creativity. And we also discussed self-belief as a crucial component of achieving our creative goals. It was such a blast hanging out with Miriam Schulman. And I hope you enjoyed listening to this episode as much as I enjoyed spending time with Miriam on her podcast, The Inspiration Place. So without further ado, let’s go to today’s episode.

Miriam Schulman  04:17

And now, your host Miriam Schulman. Well, hey, there ArtPreneur, this is Miriam Schulman, your curator of inspiration and welcome to The Inspiration Place. You’re listening to episode number 279. Today’s guest has dedicated decades the performing arts industry and achieved remarkable success as a vocalist singing teacher, voice researcher, industry mentor, and international presenter. So please welcome to The Inspiration Place, Marisa Lee Naismith. Well, hello, Marisa, welcome to the show!

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  04:56

Thank you, Miriam, thank you so much for having me and it’s so nice to hang with you again. It

Miriam Schulman  05:02

is so right before we hit record you were telling me you just saw a musical last night? I

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  05:09

did. So if I have watery glassy eyes, it’s because I haven’t had a lot of sleep. It’s very early in the morning here in Australia. And yes, I went to see Moulin Rouge: The Musical people. If you haven’t seen it, you must go and see it. The staging is something I have never seen before. And I’ve seen quite a few musicals. The costuming is dawning. It’s just the most wonderful experience so accidentally,

Miriam Schulman  05:40

last night, my husband bought me tickets from Moulin Rouge. The reason being is my daughter and I think I shared this with you, Marissa, my daughter is getting a master’s in music education from Columbia. And her professor, who is a violinist it was part of the team that did the new orchestration. And they won a Tony for it for the Broadway show, because they updated it from the movie. It which was 20 years ago, they updated all the music. Yes.

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  06:14

Can I just say there was one low like there was one negative talk about music, there was only one people. And that was they left out my very favorite song. When Nicole Kidman was swinging through the air and she was singing one day I’ll fly away. Sorry, spoiler alert. They don’t have that one in the show. And I was looking forward to that song. I couldn’t tell you because it was my favorite. And the wind Nicole did it she just, it was this haunting this most beautiful moment in the movie. It’s not in the show. Sorry to spoil that.

Miriam Schulman  06:54

You have to see the movie for that.

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  06:56

Go and see it.

Miriam Schulman  07:00

Okay, so I have to interrupt this juicy conversation because when we had recorded this, I hadn’t seen Moulin Rouge shot. And now that it’s about to go live, I have seen it. And I wanted to share a few things with you because it’s so relevant to us as artists. So my dear husband, he took me to see Moulin Rouge. And if you have a chance to see it, whether it’s in Broadway, or a traveling Broadway, wherever you are in the world, go see it so much fun. The excitement begins the minute you walk into the theater, and I’m bouncing up and down in my seat the entire time, you know all the music, because what they did was they reorchestrated it with pop music. And it’s not the same music that’s in the movie, because that movie came out 20 years ago. So we’ve have a lot more music to add him. But the reason I wanted to talk to you about and interrupt our conversation is because the show reminded me of the importance of living life to the fullest, and embracing every opportunity that comes our way. So I don’t think this is a spoiler alert, especially if you’ve already seen the movie. But the Nicole Kidman character slash main character whose name is Satine, we know from the very beginning she’s suffering from her hiatus. So she knows she’s dying. And yet she is doing everything up until the very last minute of her life, to live life to the fullest. And all the characters in the musical are taking risks. So the Satine character, she is having an affair with the male lead, and she’s hiding it from basically her Paramore who is funding the musical. And basically, if she’s found out, she’s risking his life, she’s risking the livelihoods of everyone on the play. And but she’s doing it anyway. She’s embracing every single opportunity. So the characters, they’re taking risks. They’re pursuing their passions, both their music-passion, their art-passion, and their love-passion, and they’re celebrating joy in every single moment. So it was really a powerful reminder of the magic that happens when we seize the moment and make the most out of life. Now, as artists, we know that the creative journey is a thrilling adventure. And it’s filled with ups and downs. It’s about taking risks, stepping out of your comfort zone and embracing your unique artistic voice. You have the opportunity to create your own masterpiece with your life. One of my favorite quotes, which I included in the book, Artpreneur is by Heschel and it live your life as if it were a work of art. I love that quote. So, create your own masterpiece with your life, not just with your art, write your own story and dazzle the world with your creativity. So let’s get started with today’s interview. Because there’s so much to talk about. And you just, you have so much to share. I’m so excited to interview you. So can you share some pivotal moments, and we’re talking about the good as well as the bad and the ugly of your own music career, particularly as a woman and how these experiences have shaped your mindset and your approach to the industry.

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  10:33

Okay, well, I’ve had a very long career, I’ve been in the industry for about 45 years, I like to say that my journey started when I was five years old. That’s when I started listening to pop and rock music. Because I come from that background. I’ve had no classical training. So people who say, as a singer, go and have classical training, you don’t need classical training, but I’m an advocate for the music that I sing. And I have song. And my journey actually started with the vision at five years of age. And I didn’t realize at that time, when I would lock myself in the living room with all the doors and the window shut, the music blaring, and the music source was my brother, he belonged to a record club. So I would listen to this new LP that would come in every month, and pretend that I was performing in front of 1000s of people. And I did this on a daily basis. And I would visualize that there were all these people in front of me. And so I believe that’s what started my career at five. With a visualization at 15. I saw an ad in the paper for a singer, they wanted a lead singer for a band. And I auditioned and I got the job now, can you imagine it 15 being paid to do the very thing that you love more than anything. Like I immersed myself in this music, and it made me feel amazing, just brought me so much joy. But then to find that I was actually being paid to do this thing was unbelievable. And I was the OG Hannah Montana at that stage, and I’m gonna clarify that. So I would go to school during the day. So at 15 years of age, I still had a few years left of high school, I would go to school during the day in my school uniform, go home at night, and put on a ball gown or evening dress or whatever the gig was, and go into a gig and do that again. And that was my life for five nights a week. So that was a big highlight, you know, at 15 to be doing this. And interesting Lee and the entrepreneurs out here will love this. We had a careers night when I was in my final year of high school. And we had to write down what we wanted to do as a career. And I put down a professional singer. And I was told that was not a career, because I went to a Catholic school and I was taught by the nuns. And I was scared that I would get in trouble if they knew that I was working at nighttime. Because if my grades were down, or if I was tired, or I was underperforming at school, that I would be in a lot of trouble. So no one knew. That’s why I said I was the original Hannah Montana, because I was living a double life. So I was told by the careers people at the school. This is not a legitimate career, you need to find something else. I was already earning more money than all my school teachers. And by the time I finished high school, I had 1000s of dollars in my bank account. And I was already independent and I was paying for my own staff. Other than my education, I was paying for everything else. But did you

Miriam Schulman  14:27

put down like a fake career to make the nuns happy? Did you just like tell them oh, I want to be a nun like you or what did you say to them?

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  14:34

So I put down that I was going to do social sciences. And I’ve raised my girls to be the same way is if you have a goal or a passion or a dream. Don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t do it. If you really want to do something, you can do it. It is up to you. Of course there’s certain criteria to doing that. But you must do those certain things to be successful. But don’t allow anyone to tell you that you can’t. And it’s not even about talent because I was never the most talented. But I had other skills that really served me. So if people feel that they’ve been kicked to the curb, can I just say it’s the universe challenging you? And it’s your opportunity to learn from what’s just happened to you. And Marisa, one

Miriam Schulman  15:32

of the things that I love about you is the way you talk about perfectionism. I know perfectionism is often a challenge for many creatives for many artists who are listening right now. So how have you personally dealt with the pitfalls of perfectionism in your industry? And what advice would you give for our listeners who struggle with a perfectionist mindset?

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  15:54

I used to think that I suffered from perfectionism. But in actual fact, I was just a perfectionist. And I think there’s

Miriam Schulman  16:05

a difference. What’s the difference between perfectionism and perfectionism? Well,

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  16:09

this is just the way that I explained things. And hopefully it will help the listeners. Now I’m a Virgo, and for all the Virgos out there, we have to have everything correct. It’s all got to be right. It’s all got to be in order. We take over everything. Because no one can do it better than us. That’s the Virgo. But to be a perfectionist, which was what I was, I wanted things to be right. But it didn’t stop me from doing the thing. If that makes sense. People who suffer with perfectionism, they usually don’t do the thing because their fear can lead to procrastination. The thing with perfectionism, it’s usually associated with fear. It’s the fear that something is not good enough, they set unrealistic goals for themselves. They their standards are unrealistic. And so that fear of not being able to meet that challenge is what holds them back. But, but though, for those who do get started, sometimes they stop, because they get stuck. They feel that this is not going how they planned. So they just stop instead of recalibrating that perfectionism kicks in. But what I heard some years ago, and I just loved this is how can you perfect something. If you’re not doing the thing, okay, to perfect something, you’ve actually got to be doing it. If you’re not doing it, you’re not perfecting it. So like, with the podcast, your podcast, Miriam and I have a podcast as well. When I launched my podcast, was it perfect? No. When I go back and listen to those early episodes, and I mean, you’ve done 200 And something. When you go back and listen to those you go, what was I thinking? But you wouldn’t be where you’re at now. If you didn’t go, Okay, I’m gonna set a date. wherever it’s at on that date. I’m just gonna go. I remember

Miriam Schulman  18:36

when I was starting my podcast, which was 2018, so that some five years ago, and I was batching them and getting them ready to go. And I said to my business coach, I was like, It’s August. I don’t think I should launch now. Nobody’s listening to podcasts now. And he’s like, there’s no way you can get better if you don’t get started. Thank you just get started. And I’m glad I listened to him because it really didn’t matter. Like, yeah, in the beginning, I had baby 130 people listening to a show now I have 1000s of people, which is Yeah, amazing. And I’m so grateful to all you listeners, especially if you were one of those first 130 people and you’re still here. Thank you. But even if you’re new, yeah, it was like if I had waited, and this is what I talked about an entrepreneur is you can’t be like Sleeping Beauty like the Disney movies, Sleeping Beauty. They take the little baby and the fairies bring her into the woods. And you don’t see her again until she’s fully grown. Beautiful woman. You don’t see pimples and braces and all those things that adolescents go through. But you have to go through that stage, even with your creativity, even with your artistry with everything. You have to go through that and you have to love your baby. Now we don’t hide our children away until they’re fully grown adults. They’re not perfect. Adults aren’t perfect.

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  20:01

No, no. And that’s, I think that’s the biggest thing that we have to overcome, as people in the arts industry is that we take our work so personally, and we want it to be perfect and any bit of criticism, we take that personally, because it’s a part of us, it’s an expression of us. But not everything in life is ever going to be perfect. There’s always going to be someone who has something to say about what you do. That’s their agenda. You don’t know what’s going on in that person’s life. It may not even be your art, or your craft, whatever it is that you’re selling, or whatever it is you’re creating, it can be their stuff and their baggage.

Miriam Schulman  20:54

I mean, all of us like and dislike things that other people, you know, we all dislike things that other Pete that are very popular, we have to have that same compassion for other people, not everyone’s gonna get us.

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  21:06

Yes. And so yeah, yeah. And people, you know it on that journey of perfecting, if you hit a challenge, that is an opportunity for growth, when you have challenges. And if you’re being hit with 1000 challenges all at once. That is the universe, expediting your growth, that’s like the journey is being fast tracked for you. It’s, it’s having a shift in mindset. So much of what we do is mindset to have success. You have to really do the work on yourself. Check in on yourself, make sure that you value you so others can value your worth.

Miriam Schulman  21:54

I have one last question for you, Marissa. And it’s about self care, because I know that you’re a ninja about it, as am I we both believe it’s crucial for you can’t even see for artists, I just think it’s for everyone. So what practices or strategies have you found helpful in terms of self care? Why do you believe it’s essential for creatives to prioritize their self care?

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  22:18

Well, unfortunately, for me, I had to wait till I hit a brick wall, I completed a PhD on a full-time basis when I was working full time. And at the end of it, I just was a total mess. And I was in need of help. I was in high-stress mode. I was physically mentally emotionally depleted. And I knew I had to do something. And I started listening to podcasts, it was COVID. But something good came out of COVID. And that was my self-care. I started listening to thought leaders, and they started talking about morning routines. And I thought, well, you know what, I’m a hot mess. So I’ve got nothing to lose. So each morning, I have a regime that I set up, that helps me deliver my best teaching every day and allows me to turn up in my workplace, or in my creative space at the best that I can be. And that is different every day. Obviously, we’re not all our levels of best change on a daily basis. But I believe in I call them the MEDS. So M is for Meditation. And if you’ve never meditated before, it doesn’t mean that you have to sit there and hum for 10 minutes, it can be whatever you want. Go and take a walk where you’re at one with nature just had that time where you allow your filing cabinet in your brain to let go of some of the stuff that you’re carrying over from the day before because we have something between 50 to 60,000 thoughts a day. And they stay with us. Most of those are negative. Most of those are on repeat. So you want to make sure that you get rid of that stuff that’s in your filing cabinet. Then (E for) Exercise. So in the mornings, I used to do planks. So that would be six minutes of planking. No, I built up to that. I could only do 30 seconds to start with that I built that up. But I now do other stuff where I just move. And then I also do the gym twice a week with weights and twice a week I do Pilates. So every day I’m doing some kind of movement and as much walking as possible. And then D is watching nutrition D is Diet, but let’s call it nutrition. I’m trying to eat as much as possible and anti-inflammatory diet, which means getting rid of processed foods, because they cause inflammation. And inflammation is responsible for all these 21st century diseases that we have, that are so prevalent at the moment, like us writers, cancer, diabetes, the list goes on. So I’m trying to eat as much fresh food as possible. And the last one, which is most important with MEDS is Sleep. You have to get seven to eight hours sleep every night. Some people need more. But if you can aim for at least seven hours of deep sleep, it is life-changing. If you don’t sleep properly, it puts you in a bad mood. Like if you’re constantly fighting with with people or your partner, check your sleep, there’s a good chance that if you’re not sleeping properly, it’s causing you to be reactive.

Miriam Schulman  26:16

I also remember reading that not getting enough sleep is kind of like driving drunk. Like yeah, and has enough sleep. Yes, same thing. Yes, it’s

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  26:26

something like consuming three glasses of alcohol. And also too, they say that it makes you dumber, and also to energy levels. Like for me when I don’t sleep properly. If someone just looks at me or asks me how I am, I burst into tears. I’m an emotional blubbering mess. If I don’t sleep properly. I’m terrible. I remember one night I was sequencing my daughter’s costume for this Dancer of the Year at the Australian national titles. And that was a full-length unit hard. And I had to sequin by hand, every sequence. And I went to bed at five in the morning. And we had to be at the venue by 9am. So I literally had one hour’s sleep, and then I had to do her hair and makeup. We get there and someone asked me how I was just burst into tears. So yes, so MEDS people Meditation, or that means quiet time being present with self E. Exercise if you don’t like that word, just some physical activity or movement D diet, or let’s swap that word out nutrition, and S sleep. And that is so important. It is so so important. Your energy levels, your brain, your emotions, your body will thank you for it. And so will the people around you and the people that you deal with on a daily basis. When I get to work. People go to me, How come you’ve got this crazy energy? And I say, because I work at it. And I work at it every day.

Miriam Schulman  28:11

That’s beautiful. All right, can you tell us more about your new performance mastery coaching program and how it benefits singers and professional performers and other creatives looking to take their careers to the next level.

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  28:25

So it is based on all the years that I’ve had as a creative or as a performing artist. And learning that it’s not just about your skill set to your talent, I believe is about 20%. And the other 80% is things like your goal setting your clarity, your focus, your productivity, it’s your influence. It’s basically a lot of that stuff is around mindset. So I’m seeking to work with people who are either mid career and a stuck. And they they’re wanting to take their careers to the next level, or people who are embarking on their career journeys. And they don’t know where to start. Or maybe they’re lacking courage or confidence to get started. So I’m not going to improve your skills, or your marketing. It’s about working on you, and developing your mindset and your abilities to get yourself moving to that next level. And it’s about stop living life in the wings, and it’s time to take center stage. So

Miriam Schulman  29:44

we’re going to include links to all these places in the show notes and that will be schulmanart.com/279. All righty. Marisa, do you have any last words for my listeners before we call this podcast complete?

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  29:59

My advice final words would be believe in yourself, you are worthy. You are worth the effort. You always have been and always will be. Thank you so much for listening to this episode of A Voice and Beyond. I hope you enjoyed it as now is an important time for you to invest in your own self care, personal growth and education. Use every day as an opportunity to learn and to grow, so you can show up feeling empowered and ready to live your best life. If you know someone who will also be inspired by this episode, please be sure to copy and paste the link and share it with them. Or share it on social media and use the hashtag a voice and beyond. I promise you I am committed to bringing you more inspiration and conversations just like this one every week. And if you would like to help me please rate and review this podcast and cheer me on by clicking the subscribe button on Apple podcast right now. I would also love to know what it is that you most enjoyed about this episode and what was your biggest takeaway? Please take care and I look forward to your company next time on the next episode have A Voice and Beyond.