Category Archives: Random Observations

Random Observations

Who I Am

2015 has been a year of growth for me. I’ve been meditating and listening to myself. I’m trying to understand why I get irritable, upset or just feel unbalanced. Equally important, I’m trying to better understand what drives me like my constant need for knowledge and information as well as the consistent feeling that I have to on the move and going forward like I’m being chased.

I’m often motivated by an injustice or a wrong. Someone pisses me off and tells me I can’t or doesn’t believe I can do something and it sets me down a path to prove them wrong. That’s how I launched my full time business. My boss fired me and I spent the next two years working to prove him wrong. I went so far as to send him an email telling him how his actions motivated and drove me to be the person I am today. It took a while but I moved from anger to acceptance to the realization that his actions helped me make a leap that forever changed me.

The flip side this always being on the move is exhausting. I’ve never been one to sit and take a breather especially once I escaped my old life. At no time will I ever feel as lost and just suffocated as when I was married to a domestic abuser with no way out. I appreciate every day, minute and second I have because I know I was close to being forever gone. I’m thankful and maybe that’s why I feel like I always have to be moving forward. I always have some new idea, project to do or just work. I am always busy.

One of my friends this week described me as “always hustling.” I try to pack a ridiculous amount in a small schedule. Sometimes it works, but tonight in particular I’m completely exhausted. I’m in Austin for a conference and meeting with a potential client. Instead of going out for networking, I’m in my hotel room writing, thinking, reflecting and sleeping. In truth I feel guilty because I might be missing out on an opportunity, but my body and mind is telling me I need the solitude so I’m listening.

I wonder if I will ever slow down. I wonder if what I am doing in running forward because I am subconsciously thinking about my old life. That I have to make up for those 7 years I lost. That I can’t slow down because I never know when it might be over and I want to squeeze every minute out of being me. I worry if all this hustle is keeping me from my daughter, my marriage and friends. I wonder if all this hard work is worth it or I should take some time to step back and just enjoy what I’ve built. Putter in my yard. Can for two weeks straight or just watch soap operas with no concern about the hours that I’m wasting away. In short, I believe there is more change for me on the way. Sometimes I just wish that changed involved a 6 month vacation, lots of margaritas and a beach where I can get away. I’d be okay with inheriting a bunch of money and doing a lot of shopping.

Except I know that even when I’m on vacation I’m still dreaming, thinking and most importantly writing. Even during my long weekend trip I will be taking photos for a client’s instagram and working through ideas that are marinating.  It’s nearly 10:00 PM and I’m here on my personal blog writing right now. I know I have something I need to work through. I just can’t put my finger on exactly what it is. I have some growing. I have a story to tell maybe just to myself that I need to work through. And maybe that will change as I become more self-aware and reflect. I sometimes envy those people who just dance through life. They keep with them only the shirt on the back and a smile on their face without a care in the world. My mind won’t let me follow that philosophy. It’s always churning, turning and creating. It’s the reason I’m at the hotel room instead of out and about sipping cocktails with conference attendees. I need time to listen to me in a room filled with silence. My project is me and I’m all in.


Random Observations

Why Do You Have Separate Blogs – Personal & Professional?

I’ve never been one to do blog coaching but the need is beginning to arise as friends and contacts are asking me how they can making a living doing what I am doing. At the moment, I’m contemplating developing a blog coaching business as there seems to be a need. My approach is very different from other bloggers in that very rarely do I do affiliate links and internet marketing spammy things.

Let me just clarify here. I am not a mommy blogger. I don’t make money writing about my kids, and at the current time I have no desire to. Maybe that will change, but what Ryleigh and my husband do isn’t really something I want to make money off of. Unlike Kim Kardashian, I don’t sell my soul to the highest bidder. I want to work with great products and people. I won’t sell my soul out for a free Kitchenaid blender or some makeup giveaway. I work with corporations and do consulting on strategy for social media, recruiting and HR. Another part of my business is the marketing side where I make money writing, speaking and providing great products access to our wonderful blogging community.

I don’t advertise this blog and only a family members and friends know it exists. I want to be able to just be me and not talk shop for a change. I’m a pretty transparent person. I absolutely blur the boundaries between personal and professional every single day. Someone asked me recently, “Why do you have separate blogs? Why aren’t you writing about everything at one place?”

Truth be told, I operate 4 blogs and 6 different websites. I write a lot, but mostly about work related things. On Blogging4Jobs, we have 28 writers and counting. There are many different voices who are sharing and writing great things. That site is designed and works at elevating my peers, friends and other professionals by giving them a platform in the HR and recruiting industry. It’s not my blog anymore, really. I needed a professional home just for me. That place is and frankly, I wish I would write there more. I publish 7+ articles on other sites nearly every week. Writing is very time intensive and sometimes I like a break. This blog provides me that freedom to write about my life outside of work keeping the two separated as it’s hard to absorb so many things.

The majority of my HR and recruiting readers do not want to read about my marmalade canning adventures or my aspirations to become Martha Stewart’s new expert on outdoor living.

Sometimes I wish my Facebook was separated, but I don’t often separate my posts between my work friends and my personal ones. Most of my time spent on Facebook is via my mobile and frankly, Facebook’s ability to segment your messages on your mobile pretty much sucks.

Last year, I made the decision to create a new Twitter account and separate my personal life a little bit to help put the spotlight on Blogging4Jobs. I don’t want to take the credit for the awesome content that’s on there that’s not mine so I created my own personal account after some great advice. It’s @jmillermerrell. Here, I share my instagrams, this blog and other personal things. I also use it to identify myself when I am an author of a blog post on another site or one of my many online properties.

Random Observations

When Freedom is a Handicap

Most people are a bit jealous when I tell them that my husband and I work for ourselves. We can work and live anywhere as we are own boss. Last year we made the decision to relocate to Silicon Valley. Silicon Valley compared to Oklahoma City is what I imagine it’s like to move to another country. Many things are the same as well as the language too, but there are cultural and environmental differences that have made the transition sometimes humorous but often filled with stress.

The challenge when you have the freedom to do, say or live anywhere or anything is that you often second guess because of the fact you have the freedom to choose. And that, my friends is a very weird thing.

The decision to relocate and the search that ensued was open. We could live anywhere and had settled on the Bay. Now, the San Francisco Bay area is a big place, and we were constricted to one area of the other because of our family, parents or work. We had a completely blank slate.

A little over six months into our move we are settling in and finding the rhythm to our new California life, but sometimes in the back of my head I wonder, “What if we had decided to move to a different place or that other house?” “What if I hadn’t given up my Oklahoma life? Would I be happy now?”

It’s freedoms like this as an entrepreneur that are hard. We don’t have boundaries which is why I have business ADD. I’m a worrier by nature constantly evaluating, re-thinking and considering all options. It’s part of what has made me successful as a business woman. I have my plan and the alternatives all worked out even though most times. I’m prepared for the twists because I’ve spent time overthinking constantly.

I have the freedom to think, dream and build without the typical corporate restrictions which leaves me in a very weird and chaotic place. I calling it shitting ideas and it happens all over the place.

Shitting ideas is what I do for a living. It’s part of who I am. My job as a consultant and troubleshooter is to use my creativity to find a solution or approach that my client hadn’t considered. I help them find a way.

I have a million thoughts and ideas some of them good and some of them not so much and they are my own and early on in my entrepreneurial career, I became overwhelmed because I felt like I was missing out. It was sometimes hard for me to focus on my business because I was distracted by the creativity that was happening.

Freedom that we have is amazing, but for some it comes at a cost. The handicap of having living a life wide open without restriction and without cause. It can be paralyzing and even destroy who you are.

Life Lessons Random Observations

Sometimes When I Have Nothing to Say

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When it comes to writing it ebbs and flows. Right now I’m in a dry period where the inspiration just isn’t happening. The first time I experienced this writing drought it terrified me. I wondered if I would even get my groove back. I read a lot, took photos and just waited until inspiration finally struck. And by inspiration I mean, I wrote 30,000 words in a span of 3 days. It really just came pouring out. I tried to relax, but relaxation is something I’m not particularly good at. On my mother in law’s recent visit to California over the holidays, she actually asked me if I was on speed or some sort of medication because I’m always on the go. I told no to which she replied that she was disappointed because she wanted me to give her some of the drugs I was taking. Seems like there’s never enough time to relax even though I’m trying really hard to just enjoy life and being me.

I’ve been trying to enjoy the small things since moving here. I’m eating better nearly 100% organic and we are juicing daily. In fact, next weekend I’m going to try my hand at making orange marmalade. We have two orange trees in my yard. They are delicious and amazing. As someone who has lived most of her life in places where winter means snow and ice, I am loving being able to walk out into my back yard, pick oranges, grab a handful of fresh mint and cut a branch of cilantro from the tallest cilantro plant I’ve ever seen. That sucker is over 4 foot tall. I’m not kidding.

Since we moved I’ve been so focused on the move, organizing and getting settled that I haven’t felt that inspired feeling. It’s more expensive to live here. Our rent is nearly triple the monthly payment of our Oklahoma home so I’ve had to give up luxuries I’ve had in the past like my house keeper, daily Starbucks and impulse shopping. No more daily trip to Target. It’s just not responsible decision making. I just don’t have the time. It’s been about 150 days since there’s been that crazy writing fever where I have to stop everything and document what’s pouring out of my head. I’m certain this is due to the move, the increased stress and just adjusting to life in Cali-for-nia. It’s absolutely crazy, and at the moment I’m just waiting for it, meaning the writing and creative floodgates to open and the idea obcession to begin happening.

This past week, I’ve been experiencing weird dreams where I’m working on something like a paper, a website or something that’s important to me. This used to happen all the time with my blog where I could feel, see and experience the future of where I was going. I was successful. I was working towards amazing things but it was a dream.  I can feel the inspiration trying to break through from my current dream state into reality. It’s knocking hard on the door, but for whatever reason I’m not ready. I think that emotionally with the news of being pregnant I’ve got other things on my mind so  it’s just not yet happening.

And so I wait. I try to be patient. And so I read and so I go about my regular client writing and work moseying along ever so patiently and calmly. When I’m in the writing flow I can write 10 or more blog posts a day. Generally, I save these posts for those writing droughts where there isn’t much inspiration to drive me. I’m in that place right now where it just seems like work, but I know that will change.

I think that with writers and creatives there is a fine line between inspiration and obsession and right now my current obsession happens to be my home. Organizing it. Putting up shelves. Hanging up my blue plate collection for the first time since when Ryleigh was born. Baby proofing your home is no joke and now that we finally have a little person who is no longer a baby, the displays and decorations go back to normal. That is until this new baby is born. It’s a never ending cycle of insanity. It’s a welcome insanity and those that really know me understand that I’ve wanted another baby for a while. In truth, I will be a mom of three. My blog, Blogging4Jobs is my first born. Ryleigh is my second and this new little guy or girl is baby number three. It’s weird to call your blog your baby but I’ve raised this blog, babied it, obsessed over it and watched it grow into something that is amazing. It’s growing in front of my very eyes, and I couldn’t be more proud especially since the new rebranding and site launch happened today.

So right now I’m just biding my time and trying to enjoy this lull in creativity because when the damn breaks I can’t think. I can’t focus on anything other than these crazy ideas and stories in my head. They have to be documented, shared,written and told. It’s more than just my job. It’s part of who I am, and that’s really important to me.

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