Stranger 10, Day 10 – Meet Muriel, the “One-Woman PR Team”

Stranger 10, Day 10 - Meet Muriel

[Updated! (09/27) See bottom for update!]

Wasn’t sure when I was going to meet my Stranger for the day, but I’ve been getting more and more relaxed about it. In just over a week, I’ve discovered so many people with a willingness to not only talk to a Stranger (me), but also share their lives. It’s been very refreshing.

So it didn’t take long for me to venture outside my office suite and meet a new Stranger at ATV. This Stranger happens to work with a friend I’ve met over the last year through Hypepotamus — “The who, what, and when in Atlanta’s innovation ecosystem. Startup news, events, people and companies.”

Meet Muriel, 30

Who are you?

Muriel’s face was one of shock, happiness, and curiosity — eyes big, smile just as big but with gritted teeth. Good start.

“I’m a writer, I’m a hustler, and I’m a traveler, ” she starts off.

“… love to eat!” Muriel caps off. She then shares how she loves to cook. What’s her go-to for cooking? Baking pies.

Muriel started a project two years ago. She dubs it the “Pie Project”. Makes sense. During this project, she had created 50 pies in a year. She even wrote about the experience in a “zine”, a “do-it-yourself magazine”. She was able to mix her passions of baking and writing into one… and for helping others.

Muriel included interviews of people across the country on how pies affected their lives. She chose pies mainly due to pies’ popularity here in the South. Her zine had garnered $800 from sales, all of which was donated to the Atlanta Food Bank.

What were some lessons learned from the book? Life?

“To not overreact over things… things you can’t change. Breathe through it, and try again.” To this, Muriel shares her lessons from baking pies having “burnt a lot of pie crusts”.

Pie crusts are quite difficult to make perfectly, and she comments about the importance of being very detail-oriented and patient. She shares “butter cools to room temperature after melting… takes an hour.” I could tell she was quite proficient in this just by hearing her share this one little detail like it was as common as knowing 1+1 = 2.

Do you have a big regret?

Short answer was no. Instead, she shared how she is “very clear of my goals”.

Having recently turned 30, Muriel was entertaining several questions about what to accomplish. She had always been passionate about traveling and writing, and aligned her life to do just that.

“If you don’t prioritize the things you want, they won’t happen,” she shares.

Muriel points out examples relating to dreams. “Have you talked to others who have that dream?”

She expands on dreams being not a “all-or-nothing” goal. There must be a balance… that’s where priorities come into play, and this is also why she loves what she’s doing speaking to entrepreneurs and founders. She remarks, “Founders make it happen — all about that hustle.”

If you could do anything right now, what would that be?

“Buy a ticket to Argentina.” She shares how she wants to jump on an Antarctic cruise and “hang out with penguins”. Sounds interesting, and not one I had heard before.

She also shares that she “loves learning about how different people live”. She wants to travel and write about the people she encounters.

What do you love writing about?

Perhaps surprisingly, but also not, Muriel smiles and tells me that she loves writing about Atlanta.

“Pretty much lived here all my life.”

She loves discovering the city. She loves the art of the city. She even dubs herself as the one-woman PR team for Atlanta.

What was your Life-Defining Moment?

She thinks about this for a while before replying, “there was a time about six years ago, I had a very terrible job. Writing a lot but nothing good. Realized one day I needed to stop doing this.”

She continues, “make life work around whatever it is you really want.”

Muriel’s mind dives back into traveling. This year, she’s gone to Sweden and China, and she’s considering her next journey. “Maybe South Africa.”

What are you doing today to make the world better? (Thanks to Andrea, Stranger 9)

“Yikes! I don’t know…” but she ponders this for a moment.

“Trying to make myself better so I can help others… being a better person helps others.” To this point, she’s rather wise. She considers her impact on others, and how much bigger of an influence and how much better she can help others if she is in a better position.

What question would you like to ask tomorrow’s Stranger?

“What are you doing today to help your goals?”

After the handshake.

It was fun to meet a Stranger who was a friend of a friend. These occurrences highlight to me that I’m never short of Strangers or someone interesting to meet. I don’t have to go far, nor do I need to look for long.

Muriel’s point about taking care of herself so she can help others is one that hits home for me these days. I’m working hard at taking a step away from the world for myself to recover. There was a Harvard Business Review article about how one recovers is a much greater enabler of success rather than constant grinding. Much like an athlete must recover from a game, entrepreneurs (people in general) would do well to take breaks completely off.

So meet Muriel! No longer a Stranger.

[UPDATED! (09/27)] Check out Muriel’s pie creations here on Instagram! https://www.instagram.com/explore/tags/muriels50pies/

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