Issues

 

As  I was walking downtown this morning a woman passed me sporting a tee shirt that read “More Issues than Vogue.” I laughed out loud, and then just out of curiosity (and I guess, far too much free time on my hands) I grabbed a Starbucks and googled Vogue magazine–just how many issues have they published?  “Yikes! 12,995!!!!!  “.  That gal has a lot of issues.

As these simple daily observations seem to do, the woman with the tee shirt forced me to consider  my very own issues.  Much to my relief, I was unable to come up with anything near 12,995! But two struck me as unresolved issues worth noting.

For example, one issue is my inability to give up sugar!  Every now and then I make an effort to do so by first and foremost throwing out and giving away any sugar product in my refrigerator and pantry.  Last month I was on that kick and got rid of : four chocolate covered cherries, three Klondike ice cream bars, and a box of Auntie Mae’s Toffee Crunch. “What did you say?” You never heard about Aunty Mae’s toffee crunch? Oh honey, you have to try it. You can get it on Amazon. I have tried every brand on the market, and Auntie Mae’s toffee has the best chocolate and crushed nuts all—oh my goodness, see what I mean?? Sugar is an issue.

Another issue is my obvious restlessness.  My life is great here in Sarasota, yet I  decided to move North, searched/found my next home, and listed my condo. NORTH of all places where lips get chapped, cold winter winds blow right through you, and flip flops are out of place several months a year. I can easily defend my decision to move but the underlying issue is my need for change….I have moved five times in the last 17 years of my Florida life. I seem to love where I am living when I am there but after a few short years, I begin seeing myself living someplace new, not necessarily bigger or better, just different.

Nevertheless, I have issues, you have issues, and so do our friends who claim they don’t.  What is important is that  we acknowledge them and deal with them to effectively manage our lives. Yes, I probably still eat too much sugar but otherwise I eat healthy, 5 fruits/5 vegetables, almost no meat, no alcohol, no smoking. My sugar count is low and all is well.  (ah, another issue is how I justify my sugar intake).  While my issue of constantly moving becomes financially costly, I always seem to get fully engrossed into my new location, get to know people quickly, and enthusiastically find my way.

I will miss this incredible happy space I have created, my friends and connections here with different business owners, agencies,  and the arts. I will of course miss my students. As a matter of fact, one thing that is different about this move is I am deliberately hanging on to my connection with my students at USF. I have agreed to do some special projectets for the Business School and set up a Linked In Leadership Discussion Group to keep in touch with them so I can follow their exciting careers. Students, you are the toughest part of my goodbye!

Women with High Successtrogen  have issues. They are aware of them,  tend to them from time to time, and sometimes just let them be knowing they are what makes them unique. Here’s to your issues and mine and who we are because of them.

Holiday Wishes 2015

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Oh my goodness I simply cannot believe

Just a few more days ‘til Christmas Eve!

For years I wrote my poem and sent it all over the land

But this year I have use of only a left hand!!!!

 

My thumb surgery went well but I don’t know why

My pleasant personality seems to have gone awry!

Throughout the day you can hear me mumbling

Between you and me, having to ask for help is really quite humbling!

But no more complaining, no matter about this cast of mine

The poem and gifts for the grandkids will be sent on time.

 

A highlight of my year was Mass with the Pope

An incredible leader who gives us all hope.

He reminded me to love and help others see

The importance and strength of the Family.

 

This was the year to celebrate 70 years of being me

I may be shorter, but I am still have high energy

I vow to continue to say and to do

Things to delight and get a smile out of you.

 

The USF students continue to make me see

Why I ended up teaching in the University.

BizComm in the Fall and Sport Leadership in 2016

Makes my life meaningful, fun, and everything in between.

 

My children are well and continue to be

All that a mother could want them to be!

They are strong business leaders who can be counted on

They are athletes, dads, and incredible moms!

They join with me in acknowledging each and every one of you

For taking me on as a friend, I am grateful for you!

 

Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, whatever sits best with you dear

Whichever you choose, let my message be clear

In the New Year, I will continue to pray

That you will be happy and healthy, each and every day!!!!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mess to Messages

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I am aware that I have often written to you about being mindful of the moment, about letting go of the past, and not worrying about the future.  Generally following the “practice what you preach rule”, that is how I live my life:  I enjoy the moment, I have clearly let go of the past and I rarely worry about tomorrow. Until recently that is—-UGH.

A few weeks ago I had my right thumb operated on to replace the ligaments, reduce the pain, and most important to make my thumb more usable again Today, I curse the day I decided to give up my right hand/arm (living in the past), cannot seem to focus on anything as the frustration level is high (not enjoying the moment) and frankly I only hope that five weeks from now my thumb actually works again,  my flabby arms tighten up again, and these frustrating weeks are erased from my memory (worrying about the future).

I remember well learning that  Robin Roberts’ mom, upon hearing of her daughter’s  breast cancer diagnosis, wisely advised Robin to “turn your mess into her message.”  Her advice was spot on and Robin did just that inspiring women around the globe.

I would like to do that for you, I would like to turn this thumb mess into a message for you, but I cannot seem to find one! Probably because I am typing this blog with only my left hand and it is taking me forever (still not enjoying the moment!!), or maybe because the present moment is difficult and frustrating (not even close to enjoying the present), or maybe because I am consumed with wondering if my thumb will still hurt a few weeks from now (worry about the future).

Oh, and by the way:  Ellen, thanks for coming with me to Orlando to get this thumb surgery on the calendar. Mara, thank you for driving me to my surgery, Marc and Karen for taking me to get my cast put on, and Carol for taking me to get the cast off  two weeks from now,.  Thank you Dr George White for your expertise as well as your bedside manner.  And Ellen for spending three days with me so that I could learn how to do the most basic of things with my left hand! Thank you Mercedita for grocery shopping, Helen and Leah for wrapping my Christmas gifts, my daughters-in-law for taking on Thanksgiving Dinner, and everyone for the soup, treats, cards and phone calls, and…..oh dear….there it is, the MESSAGE!!!!

The message this time is not for you, but for me–the message is about my family and friends and my gratitude that they jumped in before I asked, to be what I needed them to be, to be the HIGH SUCCESSTROGEN women they are. I am most fortunate. I am reminded to be grateful for my usual agility and speed with which I function, and for all that is good and right in my world. And once again, I am reminded of letting go of past decisions and embracing the moment, and being prepared for whatever lies ahead.

 

 

The Love of a Parade

 

 

dreamstime_s_3136270Have you ever been to Sicily?  If not, consider putting it on your bucket list.  I spent two weeks there learning the history and absorbing the culture.  Sicily is  both  beautiful and fascinating.

Aside from the scheduled incredible lectures and mini tours of special places well documented in the Tauck Tour promo pieces, this trip provided a number of surprises  as well– lunch with the Baron in Saracusa, a puppet show prepared solely for our tour group, and while touring the ancient Opera House, a 45 minute performance  of  the Barber of Seville!!!  Not to mention the totally unplanned snowfall that occurred as we were climbing Mt Etna!!!!

But on the last day, the best unplanned surprise of all happened.  On the last day of our journey we were in Taormina staying in what had once been a monastery–just fabulous with beautiful gardens and views everywhere.   Just a slight walk up the cobblestone street we found fun shops and restaurants and somehow spent the rest of the day there, chatting with local people  over cappuccino and brushetta.    Shopping in one of my favorite little shops was interrupted as along the very narrow windy street came a marching band with all the energy as one marching in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade!!!!!  A full marching band is the last thing one would expect to find in this tiny community with its narrow streets with occasional steep narrow steps leading to a quaint coffee spot.     Apparently there was a band competition with several area bands doing their best to win the coveted prize.

I suspended all shopping plans as I didn’t want to  miss this musical celebration that seemingly came out of nowhere–I was truly taken back, feeling ever so  grateful I was there at that very moment.   What an opportunity!

I am often talking with my students about the value of seeing opportunities and responding to them quickly to get the full benefit.  I believe every day has opportunities to feel joy and yet too often we decide to keep doing whatever we are doing, and “take a pass.”  No way was I going to take a pass  on the parade, reminding me of something Robert Brau once noted,

Opportunity is a parade. Even as one chance passes, the next is a fife and drum echoing in the distance. 

And wasn’t my experience in Taormina just that!—band dressed in red and black called me out of the shops and to the cobblestone street,  and right around the windy street, another band dressed in green and black, followed by still another in blue, and another, and another. “Opportunity is a parade…”

I suppose those who ignored the parade are none the worse for their decision, I just know  I wouldn’t have missed it for anything!!!

And so it is.  There may not be a parade of marching bands happening on your street today but there are opportunities happening every moment….chances to meet one person, to positively impact another, or maybe a chance to reinforce how fortunate you are!

Don’t miss the opportunities!

Googling

 

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I was talking to a friend about my first childhood sweetheart, Randy, when my friend said, “So what’s he doing now?”  I didn’t know as I had not seen him since grammar school.  I did not go with my graduating class to the local high school but went off to a Private Girls school instead.   I don’t even know what made me think of him; he just seemed to pop into my head.  My friend immediately said, “”Let’s Google him.” She immediately found him  and lots of photos.  By Googling we were able to get his current status, a quick summary of  his work history, and a notation about an article he had published.  I had no recollection of his writing ability. As I reviewed the photos, I couldn’t even recognize a bit of the Randy from seventh grade. My friend was thrilled with herself for Googling and finding Randy.  Yet I was left with an entirely different reaction.

“Google me”, I said.  “Huh?” she asked screwing up her face like my request was really the dumbest thing I ever said.  “Google me!” I repeated. And she did. And in an instant a number of things popped up: my linked in profile, my Successtrogen site, an article about me that appeared  in our Local Observer recently when I saw Pope Francis in Philadelphia.  “Wow”, she said, you are all over the place.”

“Hmmm”, I thought. “Interesting…” I mumbled and then got lost in my thoughts.  When you Google someone you get a list of things the person has done, or where you can find her on social media, or the summary of newspaper coverage article, but Googling someone cannot give you a look inside the person. Googling cannot give the essence of a person, and when I connect with people I need to know the essence, not just what they have done professionally.  My first love, Randy, has published an article, has a Linked In Profile, and is divorced, but I have no idea who he is today.  What does he value?  What has he learned about life and how has that changed his behavior over the years? Why does Randy exist, what is his WHY?

Google is helpful to me when I am looking to define a word, find out some general information about the use of cocoanut oil, or research about the history of Sicily before my trip on Wednesday. But if I want to know someone, really know someone, then I have to find out their why and the best way to do that is to meet them, observe their consistent behavior, and see how they behavior aligns with their reported value set.  That information is critical to me and will be the deciding factor in whether or not I wish to open up  my life and share it with someone. No wonder it has taken me this long to find someone special!

Just as a secret between you and me,  I just signed up again for match.com as I do every so often.  But writing tonight reminds me why internet dating doesn’t work well for me, I need the essence. I don’t get much from the profile that is partial truths, outdate photos, and lots of promises about being high energy and honest. I need to know someone’s WHY and I can only get a glimpse of that by asking them.  And I can only get a full, true picture by  observing them over time to see their consistent behavior.

Oh dear, this search may take a while!

By the way, have you thought about your WHY?

 

Admit One

ycog8R7cEI was recently awarded a free popcorn along with my theater ticket indicating either recognition as a valued customer, or perhaps the popcorn machine had run amok.  Nevertheless, I enjoyed my free treat.  Oddly enough just a few weeks ago I found myself at Chuck E. Cheese with my grandchildren.  They played a variety of games and accumulated  tickets with each success.  At the end of the day, they exchanged their hundreds of tickets for what appeared to me to be a meaningless prize –a box of Nerds candy!!  But if you were to ask any of the 7 children with me, each one would have said the box of Nerds was a great prize, well worth the effort.   Nerds!!  I could have taken them directlly to the candy store, but of course, that wasn’t the point at all. The kids wanted to win the right to choose and choose they did. Nerds!

Those two ticket-related occurences made me think about all the tickets that touch my hands and the joy they bring me. My “Admit One” ticket to the Sarasota Orchestra’s  outdoor performance at Ed Smith Stadium endeared me to the romantic side of orchestra music forever. My ticket to a lecture by Ayaan Hirsi Ali who continues to put her life on the line for her beliefs that women should be educated and treated equally, re-energized my faith in the power of women.  And my ticket to a roller coaster ride at Disney with Shannon and TJ provided me with the heart stopping thrill of having survived the ride!

More important than the tickets we purchase, I feel as though we are also given a ticket to experience life.  Everyone gets her own ticket at birth.  Unlike the theater ticket that we purchase and submit upon entry to the performance,  the ticket to life is free and we keep using it as it offers us entry into many experiences  as we journey through life.

Our ticket to life  validates my belief that we are each responsible for our own lives, and we get one chance to live it. We  become keenly aware that there are tickets for finding joy and happiness, tickets that feed our curiosity, and tickets for challenges that result in our personal growth. There are tickets for those who believe to see evidences of their faith, and there are tickets for those who care about others to do any number of kind things to make the world a bit kinder.   Martin Fisher wrote,

“Life is a ticket to the greatest show on earth.”

I agree with his words, but we must remember that we have to choose to attend the show,  fully participate in it, sometimes alone, and sometimes with the help of others.  To reach our full potential, we can not just stand by and observe the greatest show on earth, we need to be an active participant in it, helping to create it.

I handed in my tickets to the Orchestra, the lecture, and the roller coaster, fairly sure of what I was getting myself into.  But sometimes, when an opportunity presents itself, I am unsure of what to expect, I am apprehensive, perhaps even fearful of the unknown. Women with high SUCCESSTROGEN view life as the greatest show on earth and take full advantage of what it has to offer them. They do not fear the unknown but rather have a “bring it on” mentality.  Their diverse backgrounds and myriad of experiences demonstrate that they have fully participated in life, “the greatest show on earth.”

Have you been using your ticket to life lately?

 

Birds who Sing

???????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????I was recently in the gym working out to Bob Marley’s, “Don’t Worry, Be Happy”, one of my favorite work out tunes.  That was followed by Danielle Bradbury’s rendition of “Grandpa”.  When I work out, I sing…loudly I might add. I love to work out and somehow I love to sing and the two go hand in hand for me. Problem:  I do not sing well.  Most of my “gym rat” buddies encourage me to sing and even request one of my usual happy tunes, but one friend finds my singing annoying. Now don’t be too harsh on him, he really is right in that I do not sing well and I often sing the same song over and over. So when he is in the gym, I do not sing out loud. I don’t enjoy my workout as much, but I do not like to be the source of others pissiness. Consequently, when he is not in the gym, I sing like there is no tomorrow!

My friend Leah is not a gym user and I have not discussed my loud singing problem with her but last week I invited her to join me for dinner.  She came in the door with a gift bag in which was a sparkly picture frame with a quote inside. She said she knew I would like it and she was spot on.

I read it out loud, “The woods would be very silent if no birds sang except those who sing best.”

I know Leah wasn’t talking about my singing because she was not privy to it. But what the message she wanted to convey to me was “do what you do because if we wait for someone who can do it better, we may wait too long, and frankly they may choose not to.

So the broader message is…If there is something you enjoy doing and you don’t engage in it because you are not good at it, go do it anyway. Take a lesson, or ask for help to get started, or just plain go out on a limb..but don’t miss out, do it. Do what you enjoy, and taking from a previous blog, “learn by doing.”

Women with high SUCCESSTROGEN put themselves out there, even if they “don’t sing the best”. It is not about who is the best, but rather who has the passion to do something, for surely that drive and motivation will be far more valuable in the accomplishment of the task than being the best at it.  Sometimes when one has achieved “best in class”, the passion has waned…sort of a “been there, done that” kind of emotion. When the passion is there, the time is right!

If you have the desire, the passion, go and do, whether you are the best or not, go and do!