Seeking Exit

???????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????? As a young child I often wished for a crystal ball.  At seven years old, I wanted to know if I would travel the world, marry, and have kids.   In high school I would have put my hands tightly around the Crystal Ball and asked  if  I would become a famous writer. In my thirties I would have asked if I would ever  teach at a university. It is probably good that I never found a crystal ball because  I would have learned that I would not become a famous anything and that my marriage would fail.  In my “Pollyanna” state I think I would have believed the good predictions but scoffed at anything I didn’t want to hear–Take care of my former husband after we divorced, are you serious?????

Throughout my life, I have made quick decisions without the help of a fortune-telling  device.  My decisions were based on what I thought was the right thing to do.  When my children’s dad from who I was divorced for 12 years became ill, I decided to take on the responsibility of over seeing his  medical care, because it was the right thing for me to do.   Stricken with Parkinson’s Disease, and its related dementia, it was obvious that Mike needed an advocate to help him make decision, ensure he was safe and had good medical care, and most recently, to literally make decisions for him.

Recently I was  told Mike was “seeking exit.” Interesting term, I thought to myself, “You mean he is escaping, trying to run away?” I asked. Yes, seeking exit meant exactly that. Mike was seeking exit, he didn’t like his loss of independence. He wanted O-U-T.

As women, perhaps we all “seek exit” from time to time.  Sometimes we need a temporary escape from household chaos, a leaky roof, or laundry that never ends.  Of more significance, we sometimes want O-U-T of an abusive relationship,  a stressful job,  or boredom. High SUCCESSTROGEN women seek exit but they do so not because they are running away from something,  but rather they seek exit towards something better, more challenging.  They take the experience and knowledge from their previous situation, and apply it to the new. My friend Pat just started a new business, “seeking exit” from a wonderful retired life by most people’s standards but one that lacked purpose for her.  She didn’t move away from anything, but rather toward a place where she could put her interior design skills and experience to work and find purpose again.

When we find ourselves “seeking exit” we need to ask why as well as where we are going.  If we do not carefully examine the reasons behind our desire for flight, chances are we may end up in a new place but with the same old familiar feeling of “seeking exit.”  When the  feelings of seeking exit haunt us, we need to confront the feeling and make the best possible decision. It may be to adjust our own behavior  that is contributing to our feeling unsettled.  It may mean to confront others who contribute to our difficult personal or work situation  with the intent of agreeing on a  plan to improve the situation. Finally, it may mean, it is time to exit toward something that will bring us happiness and a feeling of personal fulfillment.

I am certain that as women we need to feel loved, valued and happy. We do not need anyone to tell us if we are happy and fulfilled, nor do we need a crystal ball to predict our future. We do need to periodically assess where we are and determine if it is where we want to be,  or ask if it is time to move toward some place else.

Holiday Wishes

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I cannot believe it is already time

For me to send you my Christmas rhyme

This year has been busy as you will see

Especially with my teaching at the university.

 

The calendar is full for Jim and for me

With concerts and movies and FST

The Van Wezel, Ballet and the Asolo,

Movies and the Orchestra, always on the go!

 

I put my racket away, now it’s a driver and putter

Oh the words under my breath I often utter!

When I step up to that annoying little ball

A swing with all my might, it doesn’t move at all!

 

Recently I created a “Get a Dream Job” event

For Grad students in Sports and Entertainment Management.

“Power Placement” is set and ready to go

It’s unique and will benefit the students I know!

 

SUCCESSTROGEN continues to encourage all others

To do good and be kind to their sisters and brothers

But I find myself plagued with “What can I do?”

To bring change Downtown for me and for you!

 

I am not sure what  I will choose to do

But when I decide I will be glad to tell you!

Until then if you happen to be looking for me

I’m on this site, or in the lobby laughing… Helen, Leah and me!

 

My children are well and continue to achieve

Each with a clear vision, effectively they lead.

Twenty four of us in all ensures that we

Remind all others of the importance of FAMILY!

 

May 2015 bring you good health and a smile

As we are on this earth for such a short while!

Be kind and patient, cut each other some slack

Trust me when you do, it all comes back!!

 

Merry.Merry and Happy, Happy!!!!

 

 

 

 

Confidence

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I was recently in Philadelphia waiting for my daughter-in-law and her mom as we planned to meet for lunch. I always appreciate a little time alone while traveling so I can browse in shops that I do not have access to in Florida. And so it was on this day while I awaited Lisa and Janet’s arrival, that I found myself in a little store called Francesca’s.  As I walked in, two sales women approached me, each with a garment in their hands, each saying how good these would look on me. I saw it for what it was, “double teaming”, hoping for a quick end of month sale.  I had little interest in what they were dangling in front of me, as my mind was on something behind them, on the back wall.

I have written before about signs that have caught my eye, and usually it is the bright bold letters that initially grab me.  But this sign was not bold like the others. Quite the contrary, the background was a soft pink color, and the letters were a very light beige color. I almost had to strain to read the message. I took a few steps forward and read,

“She thought she could and so she did.”

The two sales women were still pushing their wares, but I hardly heard them because after seeing the sign  I immediately thought of my granddaughters, all 8 of them. “She thought she could and so she did” —that is what I want the world to say about each of my granddaughters one day.

The sign speaks of confident, high SUCCESSTROGEN women who allow themselves to imagine and think outside the usual boundaries, and assure themselves that they can do most anything.  Women of all ages who think they can, can, and they will. As women we are positioned to change the world better than at any other time in history. Finally we can  impact any  industry, even those where our presence and  leadership is presently lacking.  Women will end the gender inequality that permeates our corporate world by increasing the bottom line, developing employees at all levels of an organization, and by creating innovative products and services.  The sign in Francesca’s speaks of women who will improve the patient experience for those with health issues, figure out what to do for the homeless to get them off the streets, and improve the medical care of our veterans. What confident women can do is beyond any imaginable existing boundaries.

“She thought she could and so she did”–yes that is exactly what I want others to say about my granddaughters, my friends, and readers.

And so on a lighter yet not unimportant note:  Fifteen years ago,  I set out to find someone to spend the rest of my life with. I thought I could find someone who would truly “get me”, delight in my shenanigans, and touch me to the depths of my soul.  He would value independence, both his and mine, and together we would be so much more than either one of us alone.  I thought I could and I did.

So if you think you can, I know you will.

Happiness: An Inside Out Interaction

????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????It was early morning, still dark outside with just a few signs of life below, and I was wide awake. The concept of closing my eyes and falling back asleep was out of the question, and so I did what any other normal person would do if awake at 4:30 am. I got dressed, brushed my teeth, and headed to the gym for an early morning workout. No one else  was in  the gym, consequently, I had the whole gym to myself.

I went through my usual routine, sang along with Bob Marley to “Every Little Thing is Gonna Be Alright”,.  As I headed out of the gym  I caught a glimpse of myself in the mirror. Oh dear! My work out clothes were inside out! It was fortunate that it was early and no one was around to observe.  My inside-out mirror image looked wrong, clearly out-of-sorts.  I began to think of other times when I my behavior is inside-out, or backwards.

Surely an example is when I apologize for something I didn’t do, just to be nice. Too often I am in an airport moving quickly from one terminal to another, and someone bumps right into me because they weren’t looking up and didn’t see me “in my lane” so to speak.  “I’m sorry!” I quickly announce when actually it wasn’t my fault!  The look on their face tells me they not only didn’t own any part of the physical mishap, but they were annoyed at me!  Another example is when I find myself defining  a solution to a predicament when I have not carefully identified the problem–again, backwards, or inside-out. But there is one instance, where inside-out is a very positive thing.

Inside-out is the best when we are talking about happiness. When someone is truly happy inside, deep to their soul,  that happiness is projected to all that they say and do. The happiness works its magic from inside to out.  My granddaughter, Kira, has that inside-out happiness that is contagious. She is that sunshine, that spark, that ignites the world telling everyone that regardless of what is happening at the moment, they will be okay. I do not think that kind of inside-out happiness is a learned thing, I think Kira was blessed with it at birth. But I do think that you and I can get there if we really want to be happy, even if we were not born with it.

High SUCCESSTROGEN women are happy. They are happy with themselves, their personal and professional lives, and generally see the world as a good place to be. We like the, gravitate towards theme, and often wish to be more like them. And we can be happy like them.

We have to begin by defining happy for ourselves, with no consideration to anyone else’s definition.  What is it that makes me happy?  Once I have defined it, I need to go after it keeping happiness as my  goal in all I do.  Initially it sounds rather selfish and me-centered yet my happiness directly impacts those around me.  Doing the things repeatedly that generate positive feelings within me  builds a strong happiness foundation, one that can hold up against most any challenge. That deep happiness impacts our interactions with all others, making the inside-out impact huge. Do not under-value happiness in your life.

You might take a moment on this SUCCESSTROGEN site to review the top Twenty List at the top of the screen,  as an initial activity to help you define happiness for yourself. Consider re-reading “Seeking Happiness” (blog posted July, 2011), but seriously you don’t need my help defining happiness for you.

You know what happiness is to you.  Just say it, own it, and seek it.

 

 

 

 

Yeast

 

Yeast dough

 

I  slowly  lost 12 pounds this summer and I am happy about getting rid of that unhealthy “middle ground.” In order to do so, I had to just about eliminate all the unhealthy sugars and carbs I had grown to love. Now slim and trim once again, I noticed the other day that I was craving a piece of  bread, one of those carbs I disallowed myself for the past four months of dieting. The heavy rainfall today made it a good day to stay home and bake bread.  I like to cook and usually enjoy recreating a dish featured in a magazine or served in a local restaurant, but today, I just wanted the comfy-ness that only home-made bread can provide.  I browsed through my cookbooks and found an old favorite recipe of cheese and onion bread, the answer to my craving. I hoped that I would only eat one slice, lest I have to begin dieting all over again!

I gathered the ingredients, found I was lacking the yeast, and made a quick trip to Publix to solve that small hurdle.  After all, you really couldn’t make bread without the yeast. The yeast makes it “rise to the occasion.” I had to laugh to myself when I found the yeast on the store shelf–it is in the same red and yellow packets of three as it has been since I made bread with my grandma in the 50’s!!!!. Some good things never change, nor should they.

And so I began mixing all the ingredients and covering the bowl with a hot towel letting it rise, just the way I always did.  An hour later, as planned, the dough had risen,  I punched it down and covered it again. I knew in another hour, it would rise again, as it was meant to do. Yeast has that incredible ability to make something rise to the heights it was destined to reach. And even after the dough is punched down, it rises again.

And that made me wonder.  The yeast is the catalyst that makes the ingredients become all that they can be.  Without the yeast the bread would be just flat and dull.  But with it, the ingredients bonded and blended with one another, resulting in a wonderful loaf of cheese-onion bread.

In a similar way, there are many things in my life that raise my spirits, rising me to a whole new “happy level”. The yeast is often provided by others:  a call from a former client to thank me for value I brought to her organization,  a text from a grandchild,  and the discrete wink I receive from that special someone when we are in a public place.  These experiences are the yeast in my life, the things that raise my already high spirits even higher. When I am raised up, “flying high”, there is little that can get in my way. I welcome those boosts daily and thank those that provide them.

Women with high SUCCESSTROGEN are fully aware of those who boost their spirits.  They are also aware of when they themselves  raise others to new heights.  Women managers develop others so they, too, can achieve.  Moms raise their children up by their love and support.   I, along with the other mentors and professors at USF, provide  the yeast to our students, providing them skills to raise their self-awareness and ability to communicate more effectively.

Consider those in your life who provide the yeast and remember to pay that forward as you become that significant ingredient for someone else.   Surely, that is our role as parents, teachers, friends, and lovers, to be at our best and to help others achieve and develop to their fullest potential.

 

 

 

Pickleball

dreamstime_m_34279615I found myself sitting on my Bayside deck the other morning, with a cup of Bengal Spice tea  taking stock of my life. I love my life, absolutely love it.  I live where I want to live and do what I want to do.   I smile easily because I have a sense that I deserve to be where I am. I worked hard for many years and endured many challenges. I continue to work hard to do the right things and focus on positively impacting others.  And to top it all off,  I have met someone who truly takes my breath away every time I see him. Let me reiterate that, every time I see him! Yes, I love my life.

With all of the above being said, for whatever reason, while sitting on my deck, I began thinking I was ready for a new challenge.  Was it taking on another responsibility at the University?  A new writing challenge?? What was it?  A few hours later my friend, Leah called and invited me to play pickle ball.  “Pickleball”, Leah offered, “Is the fastest growing sport in America.”–and that is all she had to say. I did not know anything about the game with the silly name, I did not know what equipment I needed to play, and I didn’t even know if pickle was spelled with an “le” an “el”.  “Fastest growing sport in America?”–I was in.  Off we went to the YMCA to take on something new, something different, just for fun.

Oh my goodness, I was in my glory.  Pickleball is a bit like tennis, a bit like ping pong and also like Badmitten, and somehow it captured the best parts of all three, making the game fast, fun, and a huge challenge for me.  It took me several “whiffs” before I realized that I no longer had a long tennis racket in my hand.  The paddle, a bit larger than a ping pong paddle, had a very short handle and I had to accommodate the change and keep my eye on the ball if I wished to ever make contact with the ball.  It was a great three hour workout with lots of laughs and I sweated from head to toe. It will not surprise you that I immediately went out and bought myself a paddle and balls, and am ready to return to the court next week.

My intent here is not to convince you to go and try Pickleball, although I think you may wish to give it a shot!!! My intent is to focus on the huge burst of joy that trying something new affords. Call it a new challenge, a distraction, or whatever you like. Know that taking on something totally new is exhilerating and that is a great feeling. So go and try something new, just for the fun of it. Go with a friend so you can laugh at yourselves and learn at the same time.  Push yourself beyond your usual routine of doing things that are comfortable. Push the boundaries–and enjoy the excitement!

 

 

 

 

 

Wings

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Recently in the Hamptons,  I walked through a very old cemetery.  I couldn’t read much of what was engraved on the weather battered tombstones but one woman was recognized for being a faithful wife and good mother. A young child was recognized for his ability to make others laugh and a fire fighter was noted for saving lives. I wondered for a moment what perhaps we all wonder, what would people say about me? I quickly reminded myself that  my wish is to be cremated, so there will be no tombstone claiming I was “the best mom ever”, “the woman of a man’s dreams”, or “the best adjunct professor ever at the University of South Florida.”  Whatever people think of me may be verbally stated (or whispered !) but nothing about me will be carved in stone anywhere, anytime.

What would I hope they would say about me? I would like people to say  that  I brought joy,  taught them something, or that I changed the way they behave.  I know that Pat will say I was her “fellow Jersey girl”, Bonnie will say that I was a good story teller, and Carole will offer that I was a great x-wife. Helen will tell the story of the coconut cake and how hard she laughed. And while the jury is still out, I hope another friend says that he chose me and was glad he did.

Recently while browsing in Nordstrom  I saw a t-shirt that read “I fly with my own set of wings”–and there it was. That was what I would like to be remembered as, a woman who “flew with her own wings”–that I did things my way, made decisions for myself accepting the consequences of my sometimes impulsive behavior,  and I made life happen, all  because I knew I had wings.

Women with high SUCCESSTROGEN fly with their own wings. They have a strong air of independence about them.  It is  not that they do not need anyone, but they do not depend on any other for their happiness.  They think for themselves, are self-directed and self-motivated. They demonstrate courage and conviction in both their words and their behavior.

If you have never flown by your own wings, I suspect it is a bit scary at first. But the idea is that once you are sure of who you are, you then add the guts, focus, persistence and faith to fly with your own wings. Your own wings fit like no other and once you realize you have them and rely on them, you will soar!

We all know some successful women who have made a  career of their dreams, allowing themselves to be driven by their passion.  They  exude happiness. They have purpose and meaning and they generate a community of others also passionate about what they are doing. When you enter their “space”, there is a buzz, a happy buzz, a productive buzz. People around them are not complaining, they are working together, creating, planning, fixing to accomplish their goals.  They all could be sporting that t-shirt in Nordstrom, because they all

“…fly by their own wings.”

Have I encouraged you to  dust off your wings and test them out again? Your life may have changed somewhat and you may need to adjust the old wings to better enable you to take off, but do it.  Don’t wait any longer to “fly by your own wings”,and take charge of your own life.

Fly by your own wings and enjoy the journey!