“Are you there God? It’s me Maryrose.”
About Me – The Long Version
December 31, 2010 around 11:50pm, was the moment I had quite enough. I had worked tirelessly and selflessly for my employers and had nothing left. Granted, I was still in grief over a friend who at age 36 died from an unforeseen and sudden heart attack AND at this very moment in time, I learned that a monogamous relationship was not so monogamous. I remember falling to my knees and gave God a big stern warning that I had had enough and that He needed to give me a reason to stay in a world where people were unkind to one another and life was so unfair to good people. Yes dramatic but in my defense, it was really a cumulative 25 year response. It was my breaking point, a matter of life and death, literally.
Well, He didn’t give me a reason at that moment or, truthfully, I wasn’t in a position to receive one. I was guided to examples of others, in history, that felt the same as I did (I picked up the bible and randomly picked a page) and His answer was to send them His angel named Raphael to comfort and heal them. Yea, it was a divine message but I didn’t get it because it didn’t resonate with me, except that ‘Raphael’ was the name of one of my nephews.
Sidebar – Much later, a ‘Raphael’ came into my life…yes, crazy but another story for another time.
I called loved ones to share where my heart was and asked them the hardest question one can ask, “if we are told Heaven is not to be feared and it’s a great reward, why would I want to stay here? Why wouldn’t I choose to go Home?” (Yea, I know talk about pressure.)
Anyway, long story short, I spent a year working very hard at keeping it together with the help of my physician and promise to loved ones. I was still working at the time but it was truly a surreal experience. Most of that year I was either a zombie, with no feelings or a fragile child, who could burst into tears at any moment. I regained some emotionally stability as the year progressed, but not really. Then comes Friday, September 02, 2011. I am laid off from my job. I was surprised and not surprised. The work climate and culture was getting toxic but I too wasn’t quite myself so it was in hindsight the best thing to have happened to me. I remember talking to my brother, at that time, telling him how tired I was and really just wanted to sleep and think/do nothing. Stick a fork in me, people.
Sidebar – I had experienced my first loss of job with a previous start up employer to this last one because they couldn’t get the next round of funding. That had humbled me and made me realize my pride issues but this time I wasn’t so worried because I learned from that experience and saved a year’s worth of living expenses.
My brother and I both agreed that it was a well deserved decision to just do nothing and so the over functioning workaholic went on recovery mode. I did absolutely nothing but sleep and play games on my new iPad (I had to return my laptop to the company). I was at a place in my life where I had to Stop. The. Insanity. and do something completely different to reclaim my emotional well being and health. At that time, it was to do nothing.
A few weeks later, between Zynga Poker and Plants vs. Zombies, I remembered I had bought a ticket way back when for the The O You Conference with Oprah and her amazing entourage in Atlanta. It was just around the corner and the theme??? Find your Passion. I know, I know! No way this was a coincidence! I even got selected to ask a question during one of the panels with Nate Berkus and got myself a $500 Ikea Gift Card to create a master bedroom haven, something that was 5 years overdue.
And with that…my personal March 4ward officially began.
I was inspired to find my passion after the conference and began to work on my personal stuff beginning with assessing who I was but apart from a job. I needed to get to know Maryrose. What did she stand for? What were her strengths and weaknesses? How did others’ perceive her versus how she perceived herself? Yea, it was some intense therapy and that wasn’t all I chose to do. (I know, you can tell the over functioning workaholic was transferring her addiction but at least she was using her powers for good!) I also committed to getting healthy after a very poor health report from my doc (I was my heaviest weight ever and cholesterol not good!) and finding out one of my best friends had shed a huge amount of weight on Jenny Craig. So on December 30, 2012, I walked into my local Jenny Craig and probably made their year end quota because I just said,”give me the full shebang plan and let’s go!”
And with that, my ‘biggest loser’ year began.
For 9 months it was all about me – emotionally and physically. I invested every ounce of my being and money into living a healthier lifestyle. After 9 months, I lost close to 40 pounds and was feeling amazing but, more importantly, very optimistic of humanity and my future. Ultimately, I had chosen to take full accountability for my life going 4ward. No more excuses. This required addressing personal issues or wounds that needed healing. It was the beginning to building a new and better relationship with the Big Guy upstairs too. I had broken up with Him but I’m sure He knew it was necessary. I couldn’t be in a loving relationship with anyone, if I didn’t have one with myself.
I was determined to do what needed to be done when it came to living my best life. In doing so, I was on a road to recovery from addictions of negative self image, people pleasing…ultimately, low self worth. By getting physically and emotionally stronger, I began to fall in love with myself and my life. I then naturally built a strong spiritual core that became unshakable. God and I worked out our stuff slowly but surely along the way. I figured out my best way of communicating and receiving Him ( art and nature) and the conversations began which then centered me even more. There were highs and lows, lots of aha moments and some bouts with doubt but I persevered and continued the March 4ward. This time it wasn’t because I had to, but because I wanted to. Pivotal moment in my life.
I remember at one point standing in my then kitchen feeling absolutely fearless, but not in the way where I want to jump out of a plane or something, like my old self would have. Instead, it was a calm and peaceful feeling. I stopped to feel that moment. It was new and yet comfortable. I realized that I had arrived…I was no longer afraid. I was truly fearless. It was then that my personal mantra was born:
Later that year, in September 2012 (I know! What’s with that month?!), while visiting my family in San Diego, mother suffers a hip fracture combined with an infection that didn’t allow for immediate surgery. Long story short, I abandoned all my healthy habits and stepped in to advocate / caretaker mode to represent my family during this stressful and new experience.
Thankfully, God blessed me with amazing siblings for we all worked out our roles and they supported any final decisions I made. It was a significant life experience, for us and the stress was a familiar and unfamiliar thing for me. I remember breaking down at one point while at the hospital. I hadn’t felt that way in a very long time. It was as if my safe and happy bubble burst. After couple of months in San Diego, I returned to Atlanta to try to return to my “new normal”, but holidays were approaching so I returned home again and stayed thru the New Year. It was then, that I realized that I was relapsing to my old life where taking care of me took a back seat to taking care of others. I knew the the ending of that story and that was not an option for me anymore.
I returned again to Atlanta to find my new rhythm. After few months, my brother calls offering to pay for my flight to San Diego for Mother’s Day and I said “no”.
Sidebar – My year savings was almost gone and I had to figure out what I was going to do for income, other than my renter who contributed $500/month. I contacted my home mortgage lender and they agreed to a special forbearance that reduced my monthly mortgage from $1600/month to $350/month. I know, I know! Not a coincidence!
I told him and my other siblings that I had to stay put in Atlanta to get my life in order. I was slipping back to my life before and it we all know it would do no good for any of us in the long term. My mother was of sound mind and back home recovering from her surgeries. My dad was able bodied to support her, despite his lack of enthusiasm. In my heart, I knew I had to hold to this decision for myself. I had to have Faith all would be okay. It was a “choose yourself” act and it may have surprised my family, but they accepted it. Low and behold, life continued for my parents and yes, for me too.
And with that, I got personal with business.
In 2013, my personal March 4ward began to evolve into an entrepreneurial adventure. I started to explore my first instincts, which was to find something that would make a positive social impact in the world. Yes, my repressed idealist was out and ready to change the world! I found myself first meeting small business owners, then innovators and social entrepreneurs. I was introduced to exciting, new worlds that were very different from my past lives in corporate hospitality and start up tech. I was on a high because the left side of my brain took a back seat and I allowed my right brain to take the wheel. It was this year that I realized I had an opportunity to integrate my nurtured professional skills and rediscovered natural talents which evolved my My March 4ward into a vocation to serve others.
I spent 2012 developing a personal brand. It was important I aligned my thoughts, words and actions. To do this I needed to get to know Maryrose. What are my strengths and weaknesses? How did others perceive me? How did I perceive myself? What were the underlying fears keeping me unhappy? Yes! It was some intense therapy but it was necessary. I was defined so much by what I did for a living that I was disconnected from m true self. The timing was perfect given the era of authenticity and social marketing. I always had an affinity in and skill at product marketing but initially found myself in social media where I built credibility. From there my services expanded into other marketing areas and I also began to offer strategic consulting for new start ups and entrepreneurs. From mid 2013 – to mid 2014 I did anything and everything that felt right to me and I met some incredible people who influenced the direction of my March 4ward. It evolved again, but not radically, because the core of its essence was centered around my personal brand. It was more about finding a niche and a place where I can have the most impact and maintain my new lifestyle normal. Being creative is one of my primary passions and branding is the outlet.
I was finally in my comfort zone, working in flow with life.
It is now 2015, I am finally in a place to share this personal story of mine. I regained about 30 pounds I lost, but still I am in the best emotional and spiritual place I’ve ever been. I sold all my belongings, short sold my home and left Atlanta by way of an epic 8 week road trip home to San Diego. I spent some time adjusting and still am. As I do, I decided to get back on the road to healthy. I tell myself that if I did it when I was a wreck, imagine now?! LOL. I now embrace that life happens and sometimes repeats itself until we come to a place of harmony. My truth is, there is no perfect combination of balance in life. I now embrace that it’s about finding harmony and being flexible to changing priorities and unforeseen events. I am now living an experiential life and choosing to be a living example that happiness is not something you achieve or get to, it’s a daily choice in who we choose to be and live. I now understand that progress IS perfection. They are not mutually exclusive.
I also recognize that my March 4ward these past few years led me to the process by which I work with clients today. I believe that an entrepreneur or small business owner must first lay the foundation of his/her personal brand for that will influence their business brand. I want to work with those that need help defining their personal brand so that they can leverage it. By revealing, then articulating one’s story clearly, we can then build a brand around it that resonates with the right audience.
What does this require? FULL DISCLOSURE.
Yes, that was one of most difficult things, I faced on my journey. It begin during my personal healing phase because it was necessary to uncover and get to My Truth. For me, it was another “something different” to Stop. The. Insanity. So I went from a very private person with no presence online and now I’m EVERYWHERE, but only because I’m living my truth, no apologies but accountable. Yes, you have just experienced a good amount of my E! True Hollywood Story today. It’s out there and I own it!
I am in a place in my life where I embrace my power to CHOOSE. I choose the people I surround myself with and I choose the contexts I place myself in. When it comes to “work”, business IS personal now. So I also choose those I want to work with and believe there has to be a synergy.
Right now, I need to work with those ready to Stop.The.Insanity. and begin their personal March 4ward with the comfort that it WILL evolve into a vocation that they will build a brand legacy around. I would be honored to be be a part of this incredible life journey. I want nothing more than for others to feel the freedom, self love and peace I feel every day. I am living sober now…clear about what life is truly about and couldn’t imaging giving it up anymore.
I worked to live then lived to work and now, I simply LIVE.
If you are ready, let’s connect.
About Me – The shorter but not so dramatic summary
My love for giving back, innovative technology, conversational style and business acumen; make me a social architect by divine design. I believe that to make progress in life or build a sustainable business, it requires getting personal and finding that genuine, authentic core. My personal style is rooted in exercising compassionate listening, gentle discipline and integrity. I have an inherent nature for self actualization which has allowed me to create meaningful and long-lasting connections both personally and professionally. I value people and am fully aware that their personal stories impact their success in life. I’ve worked in large corporations, medium sized companies and in technology start ups. I’ve worn many hats, crossed different functions, experienced a variety of industries and personalities, and learned from Fortune 200 companies.