Tag Archives: continuous improvement

Way too Many Hazelnuts



Today, after a few weeks of eliminating sugar in my diet, I bought a candy bar …a Swiss chocolate bar that boasted 30% whole hazelnuts in large letters on its wrapper.  I couldn’t wait to get home and break off a big chunk and savor the combination of smooth Swiss milk chocolate and the crunch of the round whole hazelnuts.  I know, I know, you would have chosen a healthier dark chocolate.  I tried to like dark chocolate, I really did,  but I don’t like it.–not at all!

So I got home and barely removed my coat when I was tearing at the wrapper. I broke off a chunk, sat down and began what I thought was going to be a delightful feast.   The milk chocolate was all bumpy, covered with hazelnuts.  Yikes, too many hazelnuts per square inch!  Actually there were so many hazelnuts there was barely any milk chocolate! I craved a milk chocolat bar, not a pound of hazelnuts.  I mean I like hazelnuts and all but this candy bar was way over the top with them. It is obvious to me that the  chocolatier had no concept of  the phrase”less is more.”

A longtime lady of excess, it took me longer than  it should have to appreciate the  “less is more” philosophy.   I get it now, having downsized significantly as I moved to a small downtown Bethesda condo from a 3200 sq foot condo in Florida.   The extra-large guest rooms in my beachfront condo have been replaced by one small windowless spare room.  The two large balconies overlooking the Gulf and Bay gave way to a tiny “Juliet balcony” not large enough for me to even display a plant.  The huge walk in closets are no more, but then again the dozens of sneakers and tennis outfits are no longer either.  The bath tub that practically allowed me to swim laps is now a small shower with just enough room for me–good thing I shower alone! But I must tell you,  I love my less-is-more life, every bit of it. It is uncluttered. It is calm. It is easy to find things because everything has its place.

My milk chocolate bar with 30% whole hazelnuts would have worked well in my previous life. Today, I needed a milk chocolate bar with hint of  hazlenuts.  I will send a note on to Trader Joe’s to forward to their chocolatier.  I know my message will be laughed at, tossed aside and not taken seriously….until of course, someone at Trader Joe’s has to downsize in their life for whatever reason, and then, only then, will they understand what I am saying.

High SUCCESSTROGEN women don’t need extra stuff. They, too, have figured it out, “less is more”.  They put a high value on the person they have become and what they contribute to their work and personal communities,  on their family and friends.  They work hard to mak the world a better place, and to protect the people in their lives.  They put much less value on accumulating things.

If you haven’t already experienced it for yourself, start with a plain milk chocolate candy bar!



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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.



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.