Postage Stamp Dependability

??????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????? I was at the post office the other day buying my usual roll of Forever stamps to protect myself against the next US Postal increase.  Years ago I remember buying stamps at 2 cents each, or $2.00 for a roll of 100.  But today, that same sized roll costs $49!  Same size, same material, okay so I don’t have to lick these, but for all practical purposes I am paying a whole lot more for the same product!  But this week’s blog isn’t about the increased cost of a postage stamp.  It is about the fact that the stamp sticks to the letter and arrives at its destination every time. This blog  is about dependability, our dependability to ourselves.

I waited on-line at the post office  and purchased my stamps.   I ripped off one self-sticking stamp and placed it on my letter addressed to my friend who is ailing. I paused and mentally sent a prayer to my friend,  tapped on the stamp twice as I always do to make sure it sticks to the letter, and dropped it into the mail slot on the wall that read “outgoing.”   I don’t know why I tap the stamp twice but I do. Consistently, when applied to a letter, the stamp  sticks to the letter and gets where it is supposed to go, every time. I can count on it. I do not need to worry about it or track it online. It just gets there, every time.

Women with high SUCCESSTROGEN  stick with things they start because they determine it is a needed step amongst perhaps many to accomplish what they wish to do.  Some of us start things but never finish them.  We might even start so many things that there isn’t time enough in the day to complete any one of them. Or perhaps, we lose interest, or even forget why we were interested in the first place.

I often think that one of the biggest problems in the business world is that we cannot necessarily depend on every person in the organization to do her job right the first time, on time, every time and as a result, the output is not always as expected or promised to the customer.  The process is not dependable. We have seen an increase in auto recalls lately that tells me, the automobile industry is far less dependable than the postage stamp.

But. more than the lack of dependability in the car industry,  I am more concerned about it in our personal lives. If we want to lose weight for once and for all, then we need to consistently exercise and eat healthy today, tomorrow and for the rest of our lives.  If we want to get an educational degree, then we need to register for the required and elective classes, attend classes as scheduled,  and do the assigned work, every day.  If we want to live our lives to the fullest in spite of a diagnosis of a progressive illness, we need to continue to research and be up to speed on what is happening in the medical field, and do whatever we need to do to manage our illness–everyday, day over day.  There can be no day off from our dependability.

In doing what we need to do, we are depending on our own dependability. We need to stick to our plan to reach our goals, much like the postage stamp sticks to the letter right to its destination.

 

 

 

Dot-to-Dot Philosophy

 

 

??????????????????????????????????????????????????????

 

I am about to visit my  twin grandchildren in Rumson, NJ.  While browsing through Amazon for something fun to bring them, I came upon a dot-to-dot book. My mind quickly flashed back to a wonderful memory.  As a child, every July we would take a 2 week motor trip. Weeks before our departure date, my mother would take me to the toy store and we would buy a book to read and a dot-to-dot book for me to enjoy while hours in the car each day.  I was not able to use them until the suitcases were packed in the car and we had resolved the issue of who would have the window seats and who would be stuck in the middle.  Being the youngest of three children, I ALWAYS got the middle seat missing half the sites pointed out by my brother Mike who maintained control the AAA travel map.

But sitting in the middle didn’t bother me as long as I had my brand new dot-to-dot book. It’s cover was smooth and shiny and I remember just sitting there, squished in the middle seat, clinging on to my new book.  Perhaps the best thing about it was that it was mine, all mine. My brothers had no interest in a dot-to-dot exercise. And frankly my dot-to-dot time took me out of the ongoing conversation about the stock market and allowed me to mentally go into my pretend world of a famous writer whose works were adored by all–it was a good place to go then and frankly a pretend world I still retreat to!!!!

The dot-to-dot exercise presents many different individual dots, milestone points, arranged in a particular fashion. One does not fully comprehend  and the full understanding of the page until  all the dots are connected. When completed, if  the dots are connected in the proper order, a picture is revealed, and all of a sudden the individual dots are no more. Now together,they all make sense…they connect.

Women with high SUCCESSTROGEN connect the dots throughout their lives, making sense of their challenges and life events, and then making good choices based on that information.  Baffled at the time, I now fully understand the positive value of my divorce. Faced with several paths, I choose independence and that decision presented a string of more dots that led me to start my Consulting firm, begin writing SUCCESSTROGEN, and achieve my doctorate.  Those dots led me to dump the junk and simply my life in sync with my value set, and those dots led me to move downtown and expand my athletic world to include the arts.   And there are more dots. Dots to do with family and friends and other decisions to allow new people into my life, and exclude others from it.

The dot-to-dot philosophy presents the dots separately, and the task is ours to connect them and get the full picture. The risk of not connecting the dots is that we focus on the disappointments and hardships over the years and become bitter or sad, allowing those events to define us.  The dot-to-dot philosophy suggests you see your life as individual dots, and you take the time to connect your dots and get the full picture.  The philosophy is about embracing the individual, sometimes unpleasant dots and looking to see how they are part of a plan to get to a better place.  Once you have connected the dots and see the full picture, the DTD philosophy suggests that you  turn the page because surely there are more dots to come.

You may wish to record your own dots, and connect them and feel good about where you are today.  If you will excuse me now, I am going to turn my page with anticipation of a whole lot more dots and a life that is ever evolving.

 

 

 

Dump the Junk

 

 

??????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????Recently I found myself doing one of my least favorite activities:  packing a suitcase.  I was preparing for a trip to London with my daughter-in-law, Lisa, and her three daughters—a girls trip!  Alexa, Kira and Eliza (14, 10, and 8 respectively) are fun to be with and good travelers so I knew the trip would be fun.  We had tickets for a One Direction concert at Wembley Stadium, tickets for the theater (Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Phantom, and Wicked) and reservations for tea at the Claridges. I wanted the  girls to get to know London, one of the world’s greatest cities.

Quickly I determined a carry on bag was out of the question.  Unfortunately once I mentally expanded from a small carry-on to a large suitcase, I found myself packing far more than I would have needed for a month-long trip! I was adding extra stuff just to “fill the space.”  I sat on the floor alongside the over-stuffed suitcase and remembered three years ago when I realized I had too much stuff and too many obligations.  I had to simplify my life.

My life was hectic and busy and too cluttered.I decided to “dump the junk” and rid myself of clutter.  At first, clutter meant whatever I owned that I truly did not wear, read, enjoy looking at, or use in any way.  I gave all the things away and found many happy recipients lending credence to the old adage, “One man’s junk is another man’s treasure”. I moved to a condo half the size of my previous one, and delight in the spaciousness of my new smaller home without a lot of stuff taking up space. I stopped accumulating things and learned to appreciate the things I have. My life is now uncluttered.

Dump the junk also meant I had to reorganize my activity-filled life to find something more meaningful.  My passion is teaching at USF and I decided to put my time and energy into being the best adjunct professor offering the most student-valued classes.  I no longer  desire a full calendar each week so I opted out of the tennis team and its obligatory clinics and practices and passed on invitations to luncheons and parties that I did not wish to attend.  I don’t mindlessly subscribe to all the events of the season, rather I carefully select those that I truly wish to attend.  I like to glance at my weekly calendar and see that I have plenty of free time to choose to do something or do nothing and just be.

I have experienced  that “less is more” and I hope I have encouraged some of you to dump the junk, rid yourself of unnecessary clutter, allowing yourself to really wear those things you enjoy most, read the books that have the most interest for you, and enjoy a few simple treasures you may have inherited, received as gifts, or purchased. I hope also that you spend your time with those with whom you are at your best, even if that doesn’t mean me! Go ahead, do it.  Dump the junk and be free.

 

 

 

 

 

Go the Distance

 

I  just returned from an 8 day vacation in London and feel out of shape. It was time for a good solid workout to get back on track. Today I needed to “Go the Distance” which for me is a 5 mile brisk walk. While doing so, I passed by a renovation site for a new business. The shop, Fit2Run, is an apparel and gear shop for athletes, specifically runners. While renovations are continuing for a fall opening, there are several signs posted in the window about job opportunities.  I am not interested in selling sports gear so I will not be responding to the job posts, however I was drawn to the company tagline:

Fit2Run:  Go the Distance

Having decided just a few minutes earlier to “Go the Distance”, I immediately felt a connect with this new store.  I realize the reference is for the runner suggesting that she “go the distance”, rather than quit before the end of her run. Broadening the message in the tagline,  I can only expect  that Fit2Run  will “Go the Distance” and provide excellent products as well as a pleasant shopping experience to its customers. If the management and employees truly embrace their own tagline and “Go the Distance”, they will be successful and the store will prosper and flourish.

Go the Distance…This is the message I gave myself as I stepped out my front door, the message that was validated by the sign in the Fit2Run window.  The meaning of the phrase spreads well beyond the sporting apparel industry.  I believe we are all put on this earth to “Go the Distance.”  My friend Pat has an aging dad and I observe her “Go the Distance” providing him with the best of care and visiting him every single day.  Helen, the concierge in my building, goes the distance by providing care for the residents well beyond her front desk responsibilities.

Women with high SUCCESSTROGEN “Go the Distance” in every aspect of their lives.  When they first discovered their passion, there was no question that they would “Go the Distance”, doing whatever they had to do to be successful. These successful women  consistently take care of themselves and others and continue to seek opportunities to do more. When they are competing, they “Go the Distance” to win. When they are leading an organization they “Go the Distance” by creating a culture that engages associates and influences customers.  And when they are helping others, they “Go the Distance” to help them be successful, too.

Whether you “Go the Distance” with your life is not for anyone other than you to decide and assess.  If you are truly interested in being at your personal best, then you “Go the Distance”, everyday.  You don’t quit before you get there and you don’t look for short cuts, or the easy way out. You “Go the Distance.”

I am going to take a look at my life and assess where I “Go the Distance” and where I fall short.  I am clear that I am my happiest when I am at my personal best, so my happiness is my motivator for me to “Go the Distance.”

Any interest in taking a look at yourself and deciding if  you want to be at your personal best and if you are willing to “Go the Distance?”   Once you decide to “Go the Distance”, the rest, that is creating a plan and following it,  is relatively easy because the motivation is the strength that ensures you will “Go the Distance.”.

 

The Message of a Glow Stick

dreamstime_m_16720363

One of my favorite family traditions occurs during Easter break in Sarasota. Numbering 22 in all,  we pack a lot of activity into a few days.  We spend most of the time  in the pool and on the beach, and count on a random dolphin showing at the water’s edge.  Another high light of the week is  the  “Pink Surprise Box”, a bright pink trunk that is brought out right after dinner each night.  Inside are toys and treats for  the children.  On Saturday evening, we gather together poolside for a barbecue and games,  and the famous pink surprise box always presents Glow sticks.

If you are not familiar with  glow sticks, they are rather uneventful looking when first unwrapped, but once broken, they emit neon-colored light that seems to shine for hours.  When the sky darkens, the kids wear them around their necks, as bracelets, and rings in a variety of colors and  do all sorts of dances and gymnastics  creating a “light show” on the beach.   I remember hearing one of my older grandsons explaining to a younger one who was crying because his glow stick didn’t work,    “It doesn’t just shine! You have to brake it before it can shine!”  He cracked the younger one’s stick, and it in fact did just that! But a while later, to the child’s disappointment, the glow stick faded.

Like the  glow stick, sometimes it takes something eventful to get us to shine, such as a birthday, career success, or a new relationship.  A young child falls several times before she shines riding her bike without training wheels.  An athletic team needs to suffer the loss of a game periodically to see what  needs to be done  differently to win consistently.  An employee works hard at a lower level job to gain experience and then gets promoted to a supervisory position.

And, just as the glow stick doesn’t shine forever, nor do we.   We have to be of healthy mind and spirit to shine.   We have to continually work on our “shine”,  feeding our minds with good material, positive thoughts.  Shining, or being at our best, is our responsibility and one that requires  every day focus.

Women with high SUCCESSTROGEN keep shining, offering light and hope to others around them.  They know how to keep themselves interested and interesting, how to keep active and healthy.  They know the impact of shining for themselves and all those around them.

You and I shine some times, and other times not as brightly when we fall short of our values or miss an important milestone. The important point is that we have shining moments and are at our best during them.  Let us recognize them and strive to shine more often then not.  Let us be more aware when our shine begins to fade so we can brighten it before it disappears.  During our shining moments we feel good about ourselves and we draw others to us.  Our shine motivate others to also shine.

I have seen the powerful impact of many glow sticks all shining at the same time on the beach, imagine the impact of everyone in your family, workplace or neighborhood  all shining at the same time!

Change is up to the Children

 

?????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????

I was supposed to be at a wedding last weekend however an array of kidney stones keeps me close to home.  My nephew, Jamie, was getting married to his partner, Dave.  While I haven’t seen Jamie in over 20 years, I wanted to attend the wedding and celebrate this wonderful occasion.  I would have  traveled to Maryland where they will be married and then on to the University of Richmond for the reception the following day.

I cannot help but think how aghast my parents would have been to hear of this marriage between two men.  My parents had difficulty years ago when my cousin Susan announced that she was to marry Mark, someone outside of the Catholic faith. Imagine? Mom and Dad carried on for months at the dinner table about how disgraceful it was.   Imagine how long they would have carried on had Susan said she was marrying Martha!!!!!

In direct contrast to my parents reaction, I am delighted to note a conversation with one of my grandchildren who will be attending Jamie and Dave’s wedding. She  asked if Jamie and Dave were going to have children one day.  “I imagine they will”  I replied wondering what questions would be following.   There were no more questions, just a simple reply:   “Cool!” My granddaughter said. ” Because I already have a friend with two moms and now I will have a  friend with two dads!”

And right there at that very moment, I realized  a culture change  has occurred in our family.  Prejudice doesn’t exist amongst my grandchildren and their parents. The century-old narrow-minded  mold about an Italian Catholic man marrying only an Italian Catholic woman,  characteristic of my upbringing,  was broken. While I  hope to keep the strong work ethic of my parents alive as well as their emphasis on education, I am happy to put their prejudices to rest for once and for all.

Women with high SUCCESSTROGEN are not hindered by prejudice that may have characterized their previous generations.  They see beyond the limitations of their predecessors. They embrace diversity and all that comes with it. They know their companies cannot flourish if all minds think like theirs. Their personal lives reflect an openness to other cultures  and life styles and that is the model they offer their children.

Prejudice is lopsided thinking.  To hold to the belief that all Italians are connected to the Mafia, or all Mormons have more than one wife, are examples of lopsided, imbalanced thinking.  We probably all have some prejudice within us, some way of judging others and lumping them together by some weak thread of commonality.  What happens is that we meet someone with a distasteful habit or style and we lump them in with a bunch of other people to add credence to our judgment.  Even though we cannot actually find information to validate our prejudice, we  filter new data to make it fit our present mind-set. We have far too many examples of the ramifications of prejudice for us not to be alert to our own lopsided thinking.

I am counting on our children and grandchildren to bring about the change needed, regarding the elimination of harmful prejudice. In the meantime,  we can all work to free our minds of our own prejudice, freeing up space for more valuable information storage.

The Hourly Worker

Party hat and whistle On a recent trip to Rumson, NJ to celebrate Harry and Mae’s sixth birthday, my daughter-in-law, Stacy, and I went to a Party Store.  Harry requested a fishing theme  and  Mae could only envision her birthday as a  Princess theme.  My suggestion of combining the two separate themes to a more general underwater scene with mermaids was not going to work. No, we had to create two different themes. Off to the Party Store we went.

Party stores are one of my favorite places because I am all about creating a story, or theme, and I got all caught up in the pirate, baseball, Super Hero, and Americana themes displayed.  At one  point, I put on a pirates hat and grabbed a sword and threaten to climb aboard Stacy’s ship and steal her treasures. My silliness got the better of me but I realized quickly that I was the only one in the party store pretending to be anything other than a customer. I love party stores, they just shout CELEBRATE. I think I would be a great party store worker helping people create a party story. I would be running around trying on hats and hula skirts and entertaining customers to broaden their thinking.

At the register, Stacy unloaded several baskets of fish and princess table decorations, plates and napkins, and noise makers. I was sure this was the sale of the week, truly one a small business owner would delight in!  Stacy had done it–it was to be a wonderful Fish-Princess party and I was glad to be on the invite list.

The woman at the register failed to appreciate my excitement over what we found.  She did not smile  once while we were there and certainly NOT when I was pretending to be a pirate! Worse still, when I asked her if she had any fish-shaped balloons she sighed a deep tired-like sigh,  mumbled she doubted it but would “look in the back. “

“Hmmm.” I thought.  “This woman obviously does not own this shop. She doesn’t love working in a party shop.”  Ten minutes later she came out and just about knocked me over when she shoved the fish balloon at me–lucky for her I did not have my pirate sword nearby!

So here is my thought. This industry likely hires  hourly workers and this woman is missing an important point about jobs that pay an hourly wage. Jim Rohn said it best when he offered,

“You don’t get paid for the hour, you get paid for the value you bring to the hour.”

The party store woman  is not being paid for the hour she works with customers but rather for the value she brings to the customer during each hour!!!  The value she  could bring is in sharing her knowledge and experience with parties and themes and putting it all together. But she didn’t share and she didn’t seem to care about the party we were planning.

So let’s all get that message clear because it surely goes well beyond one employee in a party store.  We are not recognized for the time we put on this earth, but rather for what value we add while on the earth. Life is not about being, it is about living and giving, sharing and smiling, no matter where you are. It is about the value you bring.

Women with high SUCCESSTROGEN bring value to the day, everyday. They add value by their knowledge and experience and ability to engage others to share theirs. They create,inspire, and bring value to others.

As I begin my day, I will decide where I can bring value and do it.  Have a great day, bring value!