I am in Chevy Chase visiting two of my children and their children, and preparing for my final doctoral Residency. When my children are working and the grandchildren are in school, I tend to entertain myself by walking into town. I usually enjoy a Chai Tea Latte at the bookstore and do a little shopping. This is one of my favorite communities to visit. There are so many specialty shops, a few of my favorite chain stores such as J. McLoughlin and Lucy, a bagel shop that is the highly touted New York bagel’s greatest competition, and a huge Apple Store. And there are so many restaurants to enjoy, one’s palate is almost confused by the cuisine choices. Do you feel like Italian food? Thai? Mexican? Sushi? Indian?—it’s all here.
I would describe this Washington, DC suburb as high energy, culturally diverse, and fun. People socialize around the fountain on the corner in front of Barnes and Noble, chatting about politics, healthcare, and life in general. My casual conversation with a young forty-something resulted in his requesting my contact information for his widowed dad. The Chevy Chase residents are upbeat, happy, and glad to be here. I could see myself living here, and one day soon, I may do just that.
I visit my favorite boutiques and delight when a shop owner remembers me from a previous visit. This week I came upon a new shop and while the clothing “wasn’t me”, an unusual greeting card lying amidst a colorful jewelry display, caught my attention:
“You are so much sunshine to the square inch!” and on the inside it continued,“You make everything brighter”.
I loved this card with its Walt Whitman quote. Wow, what a huge compliment to send to someone!–“sunshine to the square inch”–it speaks of someone who is happy and positive in every way, bringing only joy to the receiver. This person’s impact is so positive that at least for the moment, the receiver is distracted from her own worries. At least for the moment, she is stress and pain free.
I thought to myself, “I would love that said about me! ” A few years ago I gave a key note address on humor at a medical conference to a large audience of people living in chronic pain. We laughed out loud for over an hour and afterwards I received literally many emails from grateful people saying that at least for the hour they were pain free. Perhaps at that time I was “sunshine to the square inch” but that was several years ago–a long time since I have had that kind of impact. Have I been totally self absorbed?—so focused on completing my degree, my tennis and other activities that I forgot about my mission in life? My way to my highest SUCCESSTROGEN level is by having a positive impact on others. I have fallen short of my mission–I have much work ahead of me.
A woman with the highest successtrogen level might be the receiver of this card because ahe is positive and influences others not by trying to do so, but just by being herself. I remind you that SUCCESSTROGEN is the level of success as we define it for ourselves. If I felt that I was consistently “sunshine to the square inch” to others, I would be closer to the high SUCCESSTROGEN level I seek. I repeat, I have much work ahead of me. Finding this card this week reminded me of how I define SUCCESSTROGEN for me.
It may be time for you to revisit what SUCCESSTROGEN means to you. What does it look like? What are you doing when you are at your personal best? Are you there yet, or like me, do you have much work ahead?