Mary Marolla grew up in NH and ventured to colder, snowier territory at 18 to earn her B.S. in Public Relations from Syracuse University. She moved to NYC after graduating with no job or apartment because she was on a mission to live in the big city and work in PR. As ballsy as that was, she successfully landed a job (and found shelter) that launched her PR career managing non-profit, start-up, and big pharma clients. Not only has she worked at global PR agencies in NYC, she spent the last couple years living in San Diego, Italy and Japan running her own business, Mare Public Relations. She now lives in Williamsburg with her husband Rob, and spends her free time biking around Brooklyn, channeling her inner Paul Hollywood to bake, and jamming out to Top 40 music (mostly Lady Gaga).
1. What values and principles do you live by?
Be kind to everyone that you meet. I believe that if everyone was kind and treated everyone with respect, it’d be a much better world to live in. This feels especially heightened in NYC where even though there are so many people around you, unless you make an effort, you can miss out on quality human interaction. It takes courage to be kind. A lot of people may think that kindness means someone is naive or weak. But I don’t find this to be the case. It takes strength and patience to be kind, and it’s an interpersonal skill that is honed over time. If you open your eyes, recognize someone in need, and have the ability to reach out, it makes the community around you a better, brighter place.
2. What’s one area in your life you’re actively working on or looking to improve?
Procrastination. This habit flows through all areas of my life, from cleaning the apartment to paying bills. Currently, it’s exacerbating the fact that I’m not a morning person but desperately want to be. I really admire those people who wake up early, take a shower, read the paper, eat breakfast, and stroll to the subway. Usually, I hit the snooze button until there’s barely enough time to get ready. I do the bare minimum of showering and putting on clothes, and then I’m rushing out the door. It’s not a peaceful way to wake up!
Honestly, I hate that I procrastinate so much, but I haven’t been able to successfully change it yet. I’m starting a new job this week, which I’m going to use as a reason to start some new morning habits.
3. What's one new positive habit you've started that has made a big impact on your life?
More self-awareness in the heat of the moment when I get upset or annoyed. I love my husband Rob dearly, but sometimes little things can frustrate me to no end! Instead of reacting quickly to a situation based on how I’m feeling, I’m becoming more aware of frustration bubbling to the surface and catching myself before I react. I’ll give myself 10 seconds to reframe the response in my head so it’s less emotionally charged. A lot of times it’s just about changing the tone of my voice, even if the words are the same. “Can you please do the dishes?” in a calm, steady voice sounds so different from “Can you PLEASE do the DISHES?!” An extra 10 seconds to catch my anger usually leads to Rob doing the dishes instead of a fight!
4. What is your biggest challenge when trying to be the best version of yourself, and what has helped you overcome it?
I believe that to be a complete individual and good overall human, you should be serving others who are less fortunate than you are. Throughout high school and college, I was always volunteering with different programs. So this idea of giving back to the community was instilled in me at a young age. It was also easy to do so then because there were so many opportunities presented to us students - and almost built into our curriculum.
If I look at my life today, while I donate monetarily to different causes, I’m not currently volunteering for any organization. The biggest challenge for me in trying to be the best version of myself, which includes serving others, is prioritizing my time. I’ve been freelancing for a couple years now and growing my own business, so prioritizing time to also volunteer is something I’ve struggled to do.
5. What products or resources do you recommend that have helped you get to this point?
Keeping a to-do list, doesn’t matter if it’s hand-written or electronic. As soon as that new thing you have to do enters your head, write it down so you can clear your mind. Otherwise, you’ll waste your energy making sure you remember it. (Even this Q&A was on my to-do list!)
I use my Notes app on my iPhone religiously, and have two lists - personal and work. If I don’t have a to-do list, I will probably forget it or I won’t do it. I need that daily physical reminder - and the satisfaction of crossing items off feels like an accomplishment no matter how small the task is!