Applause

 

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Recently  I attended the taping of the Rachel Ray show.  Prior to the taping of various segments, we were coached on how to be a good audience, on how to show we were having a good time.  “Interesting,” I thought. ”  I have consulted UTube on many occasions to learn how to repair tile grout or make a French braid, but I never watched a UTube to learn how to look like I am having fun.   Did others really need instruction on applauding and laughing?  Laughing and clapping come easily to me.  And I proudly state that I never needed coaching on how to show I was having fun before!

I am an “applauder” by nature if there is such a word… it is who I am. I “applaud” friends for their good deeds, a new outfit, or the help they have provided me.  Further,  without being cued I applaud after a live theater performance, the ballet, and the opera.  As a matter of fact I applaud not only those who entertain, but those who design the set, sell tickets, or hand out the programs. I applaud my grandchildren for everything from using the potty to scoring the winning basket. I applaud my students after their presentations or when I hear they have secured the job of their dreams.

Applause is a form of recognition for a “job well done.” It comes spontaneously from the heart. It requires no cueing or practice! Perhaps the audience coach didn’t  think the show deserved a lot of applause on its own, and therefore he “saved it” by exaggerating the laughter and applause.

Unlike the cued kind of applause, spontaneous clapping is celebrative! It feels good to the one clapping  as well as for those receiving the recognition of a job well done. As parents and grandparents, we know that our children need praise and recognition to help guide them toward making good decisions.  As business leaders, we recognize the need to acknowledge the contributions of others because without them we could not accomplish our organizational goals.  As teachers and professors, it is our responsibility to positively impact our students and what better way than to recognize their achievements.

High SUCCESSTROGEN women spontaneously and publicly applaud others for their accomplishments and good fortune.  They feel joy for what others do well and easily applaud and cheer, often creating a groundswell of cheer from others who may need a cue.

Don’t wait for a cue! Clap when the spirit moves you!

Bowl of Friends

Bowl of clear chicken soup with noodle and vegetables

A few weeks ago, I answered the phone with a scratchy, nasally tone noting the soreness in the back of my throat.   “Got a cold?”, my girlfriend asked. “Yup” I answered as I sneezed and blew my nose for the umpteenth time. “I sat next to a woman on the flight yesterday who was coughing her head off and it was inevitable that I would wake up this morning with her cold!” While I rambled about how I thought there should be a medical check point right before the security check at airports there was a knock on my door.  I opened the door only to find my girlfriend with her phone pressed tightly between her left ear and her shoulder as she retorted “…Just what we need, a medical check point, another delay to get to our gate!” She had a container of hot chicken soup in her right hand! How did she do that without skipping a beat?

Chicken Soup, exactly what I needed!!! After all, this was no “common cold”. Incidentally, I detest the term “common cold” as whenever I have a cold there is nothing common about it. Mine is always the worst!  It didn’t matter that it was only 8:30 am,  chicken soup was the only thing that would knock this cold out of me. I remember well a 2007 NY Times article by a pediatrician claiming that chicken soup may be a better choice than any over-the-counter cold medicine. And to think this chicken soup was home-made, hand delivered, and arrived before I even thought of it! What a world!  Three bowls later, I was well again!

Lately with the stress of trying to sell my Condo, I was feeling down and out just like a few weeks ago when I had the actual cold. I was in need  of a kind of “cure” that the bowl of chicken soup provided.  As a result, I took the 4 tickets I won for the New York  taping of the Rachel Ray Show, researched Broadway shows, some current restaurants, and made some phone calls.  My four-day excursion with a “Bowl of Friends” took on a life of its own, eliminating any pre-trip stress, encouraging a ton of laughter, and sharing. The  TV Show taping was fun and easy as we laughed and clapped on cue and took home over $400 worth of prizes. “Hamilton” on Broadway is a must see for anyone wishing to be blown away by a rap/hip hop history lesson.  We walked the High Line for incredible sites, went to the Observation Tower at the 911 Memorial for an awesome panoramic view of Manhattan,and  ate far too much at two incredible restaurants, Santina and Modern.  We walked and talked, shared stories from our past, and just enjoyed hanging out together.  And, in lieu of a hotel,  we stayed in a century old home in Rumson, NJ. The “bowl of friends”, like the bowl of chicken soup, was a mixture of several different things blending together to become something uniquely wonderful. This excursion was all I needed to feel good again.

Women with with high SUCCESSTROGEN have stress, of course they do, but they know how to manage it. They know when it has taken over too much of their lives, they have to  tone it down….for me, toning down the stress meant gathering  a “Bowl of friends!”

Who are You?

1159529-blake-shelton_Russ-Harrington-617-409As I am settling into my new condo in Bethesda, MD, I think it is time to put myself out there on match.com again. I keep hearing about someone’s friend who met an  awesome man she met on Match.com.  Many women have met the right guy on Match.com, I know that, but it hasn’t happened that way for me. (Yes, you have my permission to read anything you like into that…it just hasn’t happened).  My ultra independent female friends would say “f-em all, you don’t need anyone!” My softer, gentler friends would pause and position a question not really looking for an answer but rather just putting it out there for me to ponder.  They would ask in a slow, quiet voice,  “Do you feel the need for someone in your life?”

My life is full with adult children and 12 grandchildren, friends and students, and a multitude of activities that I can certainly do alone or with my women friends. So I probably don’t need someone, but  finding  someone would be fun.

“So why not make it happen?”, I ask myself.  I have certainly had a multitude of interested match.com possibilities and yet after one cup of coffee, I get “aegeda” (Italian word, meaning itch) to close it out and go home. The few times I allowed “it” to happen since my divorce, I found that my screening process isn’t without loopholes and for the most part the new man of my dreams is not at all as I thought—clearly not as he presented himself. He was either dishonest and unfaithful, or the anger he said he didn’t have reared its ugly head one time too many.

While walking this morning I heard one of my favorite Blake Shelton tunes that begins with

“My oh my, you’re so good-looking…” and I smiled romanticizing that he is saying that to me.  But then he begged the question, “…Who are you when I’m not looking?”

And that brings me to you and me on a far more important level than dating. Parents, this song refers to you. While you are telling your children to tell the truth, be kind, and help others, is that truly what you do when they are not looking, when no one is looking? Students, while you are studying about how to lead effectively in the industry for which you are preparing yourself, are you applying what you are learning and leading now? And those of you who lead and manage others, I know you are teaching the way, but are you modeling the way as well?

I do not believe we have a work and a personal life. I believe we are one person with a set of values that is obvious whether we are at work, on the tennis court, or at home with our kids, obvious whether we are relaxed or stressed, happy or mad. We are one person. Women with high SUCCESSTROGEN are who they are, 24/7. Their consistent value based behavior defines them.

So thanks to Blake Shelton for a great thought provoking song. I know who I am when no was is looking. Maybe in my Match.com profile I will just put the words to his song. Being realistic, I suspect my experience this time on match will be much like any other time. I will have a few good stories to tell and I will meet some really “nice but not for me” kind of men. But just maybe this time I will meet that fun, smart guy  who can honestly answer the question “…Who are you when I’m not looking?”

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!