Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close

In a world where opinions are our most powerful form of currency, always present, always vying for our attention…

In a world where everything and everyone seems to have a voracious craving for attention, and is never satisfied…

This is the world in which we live, my friends, and I admit that I am as guilty as the next loud mouthed, selfie taking, video making, blog writing, social media posting, sharing, sharing, sharing person out there.

So, what the heck are we to do with all of this?

First, how are we supposed to have any time to create our own individual identities when life seems all about one-upsmanship?

Second, how do we quiet our minds even for sound sleep when we have a constant Twitter-esque feed of thoughts and opinions and post creation going through our heads around the clock?

And next, how do we truly take in all that is thrown at us and assimilate it in a way that we can do something with the good and discard the ill-serving?

How do we live through each day of this without going completely nutty?

Personally, I struggle even with creating content and the ever-present question: To share or not to share? I love to create, and that creation feels somewhat cheapened when self-promotion comes into play. So, do I write, paint, collage, graphic design, digitally sculpt, record, and post merely for the sake of the art of creation, then sit back and cross my fingers that anyone may actually be interested in what I have presented? I am reading a fascinating book (Perennial Seller by Ryan Holiday) that likely is the catalyst behind today’s quest, but challenges the artist to create the art for the sake of creating masterpieces. Those masterpieces will stand the test of time if they truly are masterpieces, and if they are not then shouldn’t we either find a medium in which we can each create our own version of the masterpiece, or work harder at our craft until what we create truly does stand the test of time.

IF our creations are great, they will stand on their own and self-promotion becomes a moot point.

As much as I agree with putting effort into making great work, isn’t this why so many classical artists—artists whom now grace every cheesy calendar and coffee mug—were completely broke while still alive? When I was younger and spending every dime I made on art supplies I half-joked with every person I ever gave a painting to that they should be sure and hang onto it until I am dead because then it may be worth something.

Marketing genius Seth Godin comes closest to this create but don’t self-promote mindset of anyone I can think of who is living out this extremely loud and incredibly close digital era. Yet he is succeeding. He writes. He posts. He leaves it alone. But his genius is grasped onto by countless busy sharers who take his words and feed them to others at lightning speeds.

Therefore, if we all produce, produce, produce, but resist the pull to share, share, share, what happens to anything we’re creating in this, the Age of Attention?

This post may prove to be the worst-case-scenario of exactly what I am lifting up here. There’s no full-circle answer here, tied up neatly with a bow and a shareable quip. There are only more questions and the inevitable question at the end as I will again struggle with the if’s and where’s of social networking.

For now, I am going to focus my time and energy on creating. If you find value that makes me happy, however my joy is in the creating. If I allow my satisfaction to be derived from your perception of my work then (1) my own joy is in your hands rather than my own and (2) it is fleeting. I’m not a fan of “feast or famine” happiness and I encourage you to also take stock of the work you create and the WHY behind it. **Another great book: Start with Why by Simon Sinek.

Until next time, my friends, I appreciate your time and attention. I know it is in short supply these days so if you’re still reading at this point, I sincerely thank you.

Make it a great day,


The Social Media Trap

My beef with social media is simple: I follow people I know, people I like, people I look up to, and people I aspire to inspire across social media platforms. I then become frustrated to see the same posts across all social sites.

A picture of a sunset or a product or a person that is perfect for one market is not perfect across the board.

A picture of a sunset or a product or a person that is modified in hopes that it will be perfect across the board still is not.

I will un-follow someone very quickly if everything they post is a mirror of all I’ve seen from them on every other social media platform, and every time I un-follow someone for this reason it actually pains me. I want so badly for them to post unique, site-specific content that gives me a full picture of the person, product, company.

If I’m following a juice company, I’d love to laugh as someone chugs the juice down as quickly as possible on Snapchat. Meanwhile, on Pinterest I’m reading great smoothie recipes with one of their juices as the base. Instagram would present their juice in an ice-cold glass sitting beachside, and Facebook presents an informative yet still visually pleasing picture of the product in full display with the health benefits of this particular kind of juice and this particular brand. Twitter would share news and retweets of folks enjoying this juice all over the world, and YouTube might show a range of professional and amateur videos of people living and loving this brand of juice. This would be a company I would follow across all platforms, and as new platforms presented themselves, I would seek this company out every single time.

This same rationale applies to people, too. Every Snap is not meant for Facebook. Every blog post is not meant for LinkedIn. Every Insta pic is not meant for Twitter.

If you are interesting, followers will seek you out. We don’t have to try so hard for people to like us, they like us because we’re us. Maximize each social media platform for what it is, and enjoy the long term benefits of retention and presenting a broader picture of your life, your brand, and your world.

Until next time, my friends…

Make it a great day,


Comparison Really Is The Thief of Joy

“Comparison is the thief of joy.”  -Theodore Roosevelt

This famous quote is so easy to spout and so difficult to follow.

I can have  perfectly lovely day, spent exactly the way I would have wanted to spend my day with exactly the people I would have chosen to be a part of my day, but five minutes on Facebook can wipe it out and turn me bitter.


My mind starts going through all of the various comparisorial (yes, I make up words…but if it make sense, who’s to say it’s wrong?) joy-stealing monkey mind talk of:

“How in the world can they afford that vacation?”

“Another new car? Are you serious?”

“I can’t believe they’re still together. Everyone thought they’d be the first to split up.”

You know the comparisons you make as you scroll through the newsfeed.

It’s joy-stealing!

So, we have one of three choices to make:

  1. Keep doing what we’re doing and keep getting what we’ve been getting.
  2. Stop the judgmental monkey mind and learn to scroll without the constant stream of caddy self-talk.
  3. Stop looking at the newsfeed…at least, stop looking at the newsfeed without first going through some hearty preparation.

John 10:10 speaks of the thief who “comes only to steal and kill and destroy.” (ESV) When we compare, we are not only judging others (see Ten Commandments), but we are allowing ourselves to believe that what we are or what we have is not enough.

If you choose in this digitally socialized world not to completely excommunicate yourself from the rest of the world, I don’t blame you, I’m no social leper, either. But I do encourage you to take a moment’s pause before opening that app or clicking over to your browser. Take a moment to arm yourself to be genuinely happy for your friends, to not grumble that they’re doing this or that and you’re doing something less thrilling or expensive.

“Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds.” (James 1:2, ESV) Don’t be dissatisfied with your own blessings just because you didn’t spend the day on the beach, read the latest best-selling novel, teach an art class, and learn a new language today. As you look through your Facebook feed (sorry to be seemingly picking on FB today…it’s just the most convenient for this purpose), make a list of all you “wish” you could have done in that day, then look over that list and realize how incredibly impossible and non-at-all relaxing that “perfect” day would have been.

Maybe you’re in a rough patch right now. Please resist the urge to compare your current rough patch to another’s moments of bliss. They’re not comparable. You may or may not see the rough patches when others go through their own. But either way, “count it all joy” when those rough patches come because that’s when the growth happens. And in going through these kinds of times (and not internally punishing others for not going through their own at the same time), and “Rejoicing in the Lord always” (Philippians 4:4, ESV), you will thrive through this stage and have your own fun to post on Facebook soon enough.

All in God’s time, my friends.

Let’s be vigilant together, and not allow anything steal what God has blessed us in having.

Until next time, my friends…

Make it a great day,


Downsize Redundancy


not or no longer needed or useful; superfluous.
Do you know what I’m finding especially redundant these days? Social media marketing on every scale. The ones who are doing it right post unique, true-to-the platform content across each media outlet. The ones who are doing it wrong put out one piece of content and then replicate it across the board. The Snapchat picture saved and posted to Facebook, and Twitter and Instagram. The Periscope video loses so much when not viewed on its native platform. The Instagram photo is lovely, but friends on Facebook or Tumblr are likely also your friends on Insta, so they’ve seen it.
So, with so many social media options, how do you choose where to really focus? Marketing experts will tell you that you need to be putting out that social media content, specific to each family or theme that encompasses the platform. However, that means keeping in the middle of the constant stream that is Twitter; taking and editing lovely photos of joy and beauty for Instagram; writing great long-form content on Medium, as well as your personal or business site; streaming worthwhile and polished-but-not-too-polished videos on Periscope and Meerkat; and constantly disconnecting from real-world events in order to capture them (or yourself experiencing them) on Snapchat. Vine, Musical.ly, Tumblr, LinkedIn…the list goes on and, meanwhile, every single hour someone is attempting to build the next great social media platform that will take the world (and your time) by storm.
When I find, as an example, a YouTuber I really enjoy watching, I then look them up and follow them on every platform I am currently into; pretty typical social behavior. The problem, then, is that I end up seeing the same image, the same funny quip, the same political rant, the same socially aware statement, the same everything across every single platform. So, really, I would have only had to have kept up with ONE of these platforms to have known what was going on.
Personally, Facebook has become the “necessary evil” lately. I have so many friends on FB and am following so many people, businesses and organizations there that I check it pseudo-frequently. When I do, I usually click off more annoyed than fulfilled because instead of seeing real content, real news of how my friends are doing, real family pictures and goings and doings, I see that XYZ Friend went on a “sharing” binge and all I see are regurgitated posts with some strong social or political opinion for miles of newsfeed.
Twitter is so packed with info, and is constantly moving (yes, even while I am scrolling and it resets and starts me right back at the beginning…), complete with the actual people I follow AND the people who pay Twitter to suggest that I follow, or the constant ads meant to look like normal Twitter feed items.
Instagram, in my opinion and even with the latest update, has remained truest to its origin, and generally if I get an ad pop up on my feed, it legitimately applies to me, my interests, and the things I enjoy following on Instagram. In fact, it is so finely tuned, there are many times which those Insta-ads pay off as I follow the paid ad person or business or state or organization.
Snapchat…snapchat, snapchat, snapchat. Listen, I know Snapchat is the biggest thing going right now, I know it’s fun and I love the filters (especially when Snap isn’t trying to make me pay for the filters, which I absolutely will not do). However, Snaps are meant to be 24-hour, snap-it and forget-it shares that aren’t meant for all social media sites. I understand that since Snapchat doesn’t have an explore option to find others you would like to follow (outside of your current address book), so there’s a certain level of HAVING to seek out and share your snaps or your code to get more followers and share with more people. But, every time you take the moments to snap a pic or a video, caption it, draw on it, apply the filters, or whatever…then, share that same picture or video across other outlets, it equals redundancy. Share your snap code…if others want to follow you, they will. If you share every snap you take across every media outlet, there’s no point in following you on Snapchat, also.
All of this being said, what I would like to see in my utopian social media world are:
1) unique posts shared only on the social platform that best fits that particular post,
2) focusing on the platform you excel most at or that your style best fits into and own it, and then
3) don’t water down that great message by sharing everything everywhere.
Additionally, 4) that when we are introduced to someone we would enjoy following, take the moment to decide which platform we get the most out of, and follow that person, business, organization, etc. only on that platform.
I am working on following my own set of suggestions, as well. {What good would it do to not practice what I preach, after all?} Until next time, my friends…
Make it a great day,

Focus on Your WHY, WHAT & HOW


You may be thinking right about now, “Really, Marilyn? Two posts in a row about making comparisons?”

To that, I respond with a simple, “Yes.”

Hang with me a moment…

When you’re scrolling through your Facebook feed and see other people posing with their new cars or in front of fancy houses or sharing news of landing their dream job with the accompanying insane salary and bennies…do you EVER think, “that could have been me,” or “I work my booty off every day and am stuck and struggling, everything they touch turns to gold,” or “is she EVER going to age?”image

It’s one thing to see completely unattainable and unrealistic Photoshopped magazine covers staring at us over our overflowing grocery carts; we don’t know the celebs smiling back at us. However, when it’s our friends, our family, or our classmates sharing perfect snapshots of their perfect jet-setting life with the perfect kids, still married to the perfect high-school sweetheart and more in love than EVER…It’s a little more difficult to resist the temptation of comparison. Am I right?

Making comparisons in the business world is really no different. If you have an innovative idea, a new spin on an old idea, or anywhere in between, comparisons can kill your biz buzz. If you focus on what the other guy is doing, you’re focusing less on WHY you’re doing what you’re doing. If you’re going to focus on the other guy, just go ahead and let him do the business and you be his customer. If you want to take off and soar on your own wings of innovation, then setting your own path is a big part of the flight plan. Comparison–so it’s said–steals your joy, but it also kills your creativity.

Resist the urge to give a care what the other guy is doing. Resist making comparisons. Resist social scrolling.

You! (…yeah, I’m talking to you…) Do you!!! You know what you do and who you are and what you have planned better than anyone. Focus on doing, being, and creating all that and more!

I believe in you. Do YOU believe in you?

Until next time, my friends…

Make it a great day,

P.S. I am still reading Simon Sinek’s START WITH WHY: HOW GREAT LEADERS INSPIRE EVERYONE TO TAKE ACTION. Everyone from stay-at-home mom to CEO’s would benefit from this one. So good!

Heroes In Teal!

Not everyone is comfortable with being in the limelight, especially around really personal, sensitive issues like sexual violence. However, everyone who admits –even to just one person– that they have been a victim of sexual violence is a hero! Every person who has ever been victimized and lived to tell about it is a hero!

The woman interviewed in the following series of newscasts is a family friend of ours.  I met her when I was a small child, about the same time she became a survivor of sexual violence. Because I was so young at the time, I don’t know how much Sally spoke about her abuse when it occurred, but I know NOW she is a hero on the front lines, making people aware that sexual violence happens right under our noses and that it needs to stop NOW.

Here are some scary stats on Sexual Assault, according to the website for the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network  (RAINN.org):

  • 1 out of every 6 American women (17.7 million women) and 3% of American men (2.78 million men) have experienced an attempted or completed rape in their lifetime.
  • 44% of victims are under the age of 18, and 80% are under the age of 30.
  • On average, the age a male is most likely to be the victim of sexual assault is age 4; the age a female is most likely to be the victim of sexual assault is age 14.
  • Every 107 seconds, another American is sexually assaulted.
  • Approximately 4/5 of assaults are committed by someone known to the victim, and 93% of juvenile sexual assault victims know their attacker.
  • Approximately 50% of all rape/sexual assault incidents occurred within 1 mile of their home or at their home.
  • 43% of rapes occur between 6pm and midnight.

EFFECTS OF RAPE: Victims of sexual assault are:

  • 3 times more likely to suffer from depression
  • 4 times more likely to contemplate suicide
  • 6 times more likely to suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder
  • 13 times more likely to abuse alcohol
  • 26 more likely to abuse drugs

In all of these gut-wrenching statistics, I see picsart_04-19-05.39.08.jpgheroes. Not only have the people these statistics represent gone through unspeakable pain that couldn’t ever be represented by a number, they are heroes for reporting the abuse to someone they trust. Without reporting incidents like sexual violence, statistics wouldn’t be available, the word wouldn’t be spread, and actionable steps to prevent and give support for the survivors of sexual violence wouldn’t be possible!

I implore you to open your hearts and your eyes, and to learn more about sexual violence. Given these staggering statistics, all of us know at least one person effected by this, and rather than face our judgment, let’s let them see our show of support and love. These men and women are heroes!

If you are in the Indianapolis area, I invite you to get involved: Indiana Coalition to End Sexual Assault via their website and Facebook page.

Elsewhere in the country, there are a plethora of similar organizations with the common goal of ENDING SEXUAL VIOLENCE! Find one and get involved!

Until next time, my friends…

Make it a great day,


One more thing worth sharing, and also including my friend: Breaking Our Silence PSA by The Forces and Voices Project

This is Sally’s story:

You Are Beautiful


THIS is Lizzie Velasquez! Holy moly is this woman ever an inspiration. She is the epitome of internal beauty that *shines* out of her every pore!

Ladies and Gentlemen, this is beauty. Each person reading this is beautiful in so many ways. You have beauty inside of you, and you share beauty with those you love. The world has people in it who may try to tear you down and convince you that you ARE AMAZING! Now in her 20’s, Lizzie gives those who encounter her inspiration to stand up against bullying of all sorts, as she knows first hand how painful and wide-spread bullying can be.

My hope is that you find Lizzie as inspirational and uplifting as I do. Go follow her, go watch her film, and get inspired to live your most beautiful life!!! I stand with Lizzie!

Find Lizzie all over the interweb:
Her Website: http://imwithlizzie.com/
Her Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/LizzieVelasquez
Her Twitter: https://twitter.com/littlelizziev
Her Instagram: https://instagram.com/littlelizziev

AND–If you go see her movie, or watch it online (I saw that you can watch it on-demand from her website…which I will be doing VERY shortly), please let me know and share your thoughts here!

Until next time, my friends…

Make it a great day,


This is Kelsey


Today was a milestone day in my teenage daughter’s life, but this is more than merely a proud mom moment, this is a transformation story that I was allowed to watch unfold in awe.

This is my oldest daughter, Kelsey. She is a beautiful spirit of a person, and certainly indomitable. She’s the second born child, which–in a nut shell–means that everything I so easily mastered with my first son was completely turned on its head and proven wrong with my second child. She’s been her very own version of herself since Day 1, even in her persistence to be born…she couldn’t wait a single moment more to get on with this thing called life and insisted on being born two months early, with no residual complications or health concerns to speak of. She is and always will be my “angel baby.”

The road for someone so spirited and creative can be a difficult one. When your ways of doing things don’t quite line up with the societal (or parental…) “norms,” frustrations erupt easily and with relatively frequency. She has gone through periods of time when she held her wildest dreams close to her, not sharing them for the sake of no longer wanting to argue or defend her stance. Other times, she has shared it all, baring her soul and her dreams in the open for those all around her to observe and, consequently, judge. She’s one of those kids who could have gone either way…she could use this uniqueness to her advantage or allowed it to swallow her up in a dark hole that summons the “unique” of our society. Kelsey chose the higher road. She has big dreams and decided not to allow her way of being work against her, but to use it as her fuel for accomplishment.

Her latest great endeavor has been one of great openness and, as of tonight, great success. Kelsey has been writing and creating all forms of artwork essentially her entire life to this point. She’s wildly talented an creative, but–like me–is great at starting things, but for one reason or another tends toward quitting and moving on to another project of greater excitement before finishing the first. Kelsey has begun writing many books, but this time was different. There was something different in her mindset, her preparation, her planning, and her execution that was the turning point between past abandonments and current success. And, each day of this writing journey, she posted on her personal Facebook page what she had accomplished in her writing for the day. Without giving away all of her trade secrets, I will share that her primary writing goal was 2,000 words a day. She often exceeded this goal, but every day she wrote and wrote and wrote. She wrote after a long day at school. She wrote after homework. She wrote in the middle of a chaotic house full of family. She wrote in the quiet of her bedroom. Wherever she was, and however she had the opportunity, Kelsey was able to buckle-down, focus, and let the writing flow through her fingertips.

This evening, she posted this: wpid-screenshot_2015-10-18-22-12-17-1.png

Please understand right here and now that Kelsey realizes that this is just the first step in a very long journey of writing and working to be a published author, but this is still a monumental step for my amazing daughter. Not missing a beat, now she’s worked out her schedule for editing this manuscript, while simultaneously working on the sequel book. I couldn’t be more proud of her perseverance!

Did I mention…she’s only 15 years old.

So proud!

Until next time, my friends…

Make it a great day,


Eliminating the Six Degrees of Separation

wpid-wp-1438663468454.jpegRemember back in the “old days” when the closest you could get to your favorite celebrity was to pay $15 to be a member of his or her official fan club, which may get you a signed poster and a whole lotta wishful thinking?

The days of having Six Degrees of Separation between you and virtually anyone are long gone! Social media sources like Twitter, YouTube, Facebook, and Instagram have taken us waayyy beyond the National Enquirer level connectivity.

It’s really amazing how small social media has made this great big world!

Now, I will get the occasional response to a  tweet or comment I’ve made on some big-time person’s post or video or photo…and it will thrill me like it’s the 80’s and I’m in line to see a glimpse of Michael Jackson or Madonna!

This handy new rule-of-thumb applies to so much more than celebrities, too! Job hunting. Getting your news out about a new product. Sharing your thoughts on current events. Getting connected to the people you most need to hear you message is literally finger strikes away.

Networking at it’s most efficient.

So, my question for you is this: How are YOU going to close that gap between you and the people who can help take your ideas to the next level?

**Hustle makes it happen, so let’s dance!**

Until next time, my friends…

Make it a great day,