Front Row Seating

????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????My friend Gigi and I recently attended an incredible live performance of South Pacific. Years ago, I saw South Pacific on Broadway, and this new stage performance was as good as it was way back then.  I enjoyed it so much that I attempted to get tickets for Jim and me.  I doubted we would be able to meet our usual preferences of two seats together, mid-way back from the stage, with one aisle seat, so I kept my fingers crossed that we could just find two seats together.

Unfortunately the show was completely sold out. But while wishing and hoping to go to South Pacific a second time,  I was reminded how we all have different seating preferences.  For live theater, Gigi likes to sit on the side of the theater, I like to be front and center, about 7 rows back, Jim prefers an  aisle seat for the additional leg room, and I suspect your prefer something else. When I am at an Elton John concert  I like to be in the front row so I can see his facial expressions as he breathes life into the piano.  In the movies,  I prefer to sit toward the back. At a professional basketball  game, I prefer court side seats, at a baseball game I like to sit behind home plate, and when I am at a professional football game, I prefer the luxury of a box.  Last June, in  Wembley Stadium for the One Direction concert I was happy to be quite removed from the screaming teens down below,  at a level with an easy exit from the 80,000 fans.

It is no surprise that we all have  individual seating preferences for different events, but there is one exception…

When we are talking about getting a good view of our lives, we can only choose front row seating.

There simply is no other choice.  If we are truly interested in living our lives at our best, then we must have an unobstructed view of our lives.  Assessing who we are and how aligned we are with our values, is an up close and personal thing. We need to have a clear view of our behavior and how it impacts our environment. And just as our vision needs to be clear, our hearing needs to be acutely tuned in to what is being said.  High SUCCESSTROGEN women are constantly measuring their value.  They have season tickets in the  front row  so they see themselves clearly every step of the way. These aware women continually accept and ask for feedback about their performance so they can make quick changes to increase their effectiveness.

Moms, get a front row seat so you can see how you parent, and teachers get a front row seat to learn the behaviors you are modeling to your students. Leaders and managers sit up tall in your front row seat so you have a good view of the influence you have on those you lead and manage.

Everyone, if you don’t already occupy it, get your front row seat and get comfortable sitting in it. Be okay with the apparent lack of perfection and growth opportunities glaring in front of you.  By seeing who you are and what you do up close, you will be able to understand what works and what you need to do to improve.

Choose to be at your personal best, choose front row seating.

Good New Days

??????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????? While I was working out in the gym today, one of my favorite songs played through my royal blue Beeps:  “Grandpa” sung by Danielle Bradbury.  In an off-key voice, I sang right along with Danielle as she lamented about how things have changed over the years. I have a bad habit of singing out loud in the gym which may be the reason for  the increased use of headsets in my condo gym!

In her soft country voice, Danielle opens the song with her concern about life today….

“Grandpa, tell me ’bout the good old days
Sometimes it feels like this worlds gone crazy.
Grandpa, take me back to yesterday
When the line between right and wrong
Didn’t seem so hazy.”

Those times, long ago, are often referred to as “the good ole days.” People say that “life was simple” then, that families were more intact, and people listened to and spent time with one another.  Families gathered on Sunday to share a meal, play games and go to church together. Children grew up in their parents business, carrying on a family tradition. Yes, “the good ole days” seems a fitting way to describe what was so different a long time ago.   Danielle further describes yesterday in the chorus by asking questions, as though she cannot believe these things really happened…

Did lovers really fall in love to stay,

And stand beside each other, come what may?

Was a promise really something people kept
Not just something they would say?
Did families really bow their heads to pray?
Did daddies really never go away?
Oh, grandpa, tell me ’bout the good old days.”

Times have changed for sure, and some of those things Danielle sings about such as  promises being kept between two lovers, daddy’s staying in their role for the long run, and families bowing their heads to pray together, were indeed reflective of my childhood and yours. Those were the things we held in high esteem. So if we valued them then, why on earth did we let go of them?  Why have we not reinstated them and brought them back into our lives???

We want to blame technology for how we live today and how talk about how it has increased our ability to communicate but simultaneously damaged our ability to do so. We want to talk about  big business and its impact, the economy and why both parents have to work to support a family today. But I want to blame only ourselves for leaving some of our values behind.

This is my first blog of the New Year, so it is fitting to offer this suggestion. Lets’s put some of those “good ole”values, at least those you feel strongly about, back into our lives.  If you are in love, be true to that relationship, and stand alongside  your lover through thick and thin.  Keep your promises, talk things through, be open about what works and doesn’t work for you. If bowing your heads in prayer is comforting to you and your family, then make it happen, consistently.

 Women with High SUCCCESSTROGEN have kept those values in their lives and influence those around them to do likewise.  I cannot decide your values for you, but you don’t need me to. You know what you hold as the highest values…clarify them for yourself and others, and begin living them again.  Imagine how a groundswell of others restating and living their values would impact our communities, our nation, and our world.!!!Let the “good ole days” be our “good new days”, days filled with clarity around the things we value, and behavior aligned with it.

No one took those values away from our lives, we just moved away from them, trading them for something less satisfying. I for one will move back and capture the important things about living and loving in 2015. Please consider joining me!

Happy New Year and thank you all for reading SUCCESSTROGEN!

 

 

 

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.