We were thrilled to sit down with Fresh Produce co-founder, Mary Ellen (or Mare, as we all call her) to find out how she approaches each new year. We hope you take a moment to read our Q&A, and that you feel inspired to think about your own new year ahead.
What are your new year’s resolutions?
(ME) Rather than kicking off the new year with a list of resolutions, I like to think about it as the perfect time to make a fresh start. Each year can be a new beginning, when you can make a choice to live with intention, to be more present.
We love it! How do you go about this?
(ME) It starts for me with taking time to really pause and reflect. Look at your life, and ask: What is working? What is working with your family? Friends? Relationships? Your career? Notice what feels right, and acknowledge where you feel off balance. Where things are going well, celebrate that. Where things are out of balance, decide how you need to change them.
What are some potential setbacks?
(ME) If being overcommitted is your issue — as it is for most women — it takes a conscious effort to set boundaries so you can be more present. Long ago, I decided that saying yes to every invitation wasn’t working for me. Now instead of accepting right away, I often say “That sounds great, I’ll let you know.” Then when the time comes, I can be honest about how I am feeling.
How do you stay present?
(ME) Whether it’s with work, friends or family, I can’t be present if I feel overbooked. I feel prouder if I’m not doing a million things, but doing a few things really well. I can listen to people — really hear them — if I can make the space to be present.
What about the always challenging work / life balance?
(ME) If things are out of balance at work, it’s up to you to set the boundaries. No one can set the boundaries except for you. If you’re good at what you do, everyone wants more of you, and it’s up to you to say no.
Any other tips for readers?
(ME) Technology is a big part of that. As I’ve said before, the best way to quiet the noise is by turning off technology. I see people sending emails in the middle of the night, or feeling like they need to always be reachable by phone. I respect the work ethic, but to me that’s a life out of balance. I used to drive people crazy because they could never reach me on my cell phone. Now people just know, that’s ME! There’s a time and a place for everything. If I respect myself for turning of my phone and being present, others will follow.
What are some other things you want to work on this year?
(ME) I like to think of them as aspirations or intentions, rather than resolutions. For me, working on this blog is the first step I’m taking towards writing an inspirational book — something I’ve wanted to do for a while! If you have big aspirations, instead of just thinking about them, set mini-goals and deadlines for yourself. Just START, and you’ll create your own momentum.
What do you want your life to look like when you look back on it?
(ME) Since my mom has gone to heaven, it’s given me a new perspective on the final chapters of our lives. It helps to start with the ending — how do I want to look back on my life and feel that I made a difference? Whether it’s with my family, in the community I live in, or with the greater community of women, I want to be intentional about how I move through life and touch others.
What else would you like to share with the FP community?
(ME) We get to pick every day what we want our lives to look like. It is exciting because you get to paint YOU every single day! Take time to pause, make a fresh start, and set intentions for living fully. Walk proudly through life and be intentional about who you want to be!
All the best in 2017!
Mary Ellen & Thom Vernon