People Make Mistakes

“Making mistakes is better than faking perfection.” -Unknown

As someone who has spent her entire life trying to meet unrealistic expectations, I have overthought, over analyzed and become more than paralyzed over trying to be perfect. It’s crippling often times.  But the truth is, no matter how many times you go over something, when the grand moment finally arrives, mistakes will happen. The worst part is that those blunders are the ones you never saw coming; the situations you were absolutely sure you had totally together.

I’ve often noticed many political figures tear their careers apart by lying when someone calls them out on something only to be caught in the end. It’s a sad situation for a few reasons. Often times they are the ones to blame because they had touted themselves to be completely infallible. When you claim to be perfect and above everyone else, you had better be able to prove it time and time again.

But at the same time, I also wish there was more of a culture to allow for failure when someone admits to an honest mistake. We force ourselves into a corner when we don’t accept that we are fallible. I’ve taken the fall for probably too many situations in my time. But there have been plenty of times where I truly was at fault and took my blame as appropriate.

I’ve always admired the quote by Vince Lombardi,

                     “Gentlemen, we are going to relentlessly chase perfection, knowing full well we will not catch it, because nothing is perfect. But we are going to relentlessly chase it, because in the process we will catch excellence.”

If we’re trying to get to excellence, giving it every effort we’ve got, let’s try to forgive a bit more when we don’t make it. It’ll be a happier world for us all.

 

 

 

 

 

Please follow and like us:

Thank you for the Opportunity

For the last twenty years, I have dreamed of becoming a writer. The reasoning initially had been exploratory. I had been told along the way that I was good at it and experienced people’s happiness when I spoke my written words. I seemed to be able to put into phrases what people were feeling and actually made them feel more connected to the world.

The idea of author comes with many idealist visions. I often imagined myself sipping a latte on a vintage couch in a warm coffee shop in Manhattan, listening intently to fragments of conversations looking for my next smash best seller idea. I pictured myself at a writers’ retreat in the Hamptons, basking in early autumn sunshine on a quiet beach, realizing the meaning of life and bringing it valiantly back to humanity.

When I finally stopped overthinking, over-analyzing and agonizing over how I was going to make my splendid debut, I started this blog. What I never anticipated was how much I would enjoy simply sitting at my laptop and sharing my ideas with people who would be gracious enough to listen. What has been spectacular is people actually connecting to the writing, engaging with it and looking for more.

The true reason I write, underneath it all, is to build a platform upon which to join with others to make the world a better place. My mind has been opened over the years through countless books asking me to look at life from a different perspective. Everyone has their story and every story has several sides. Thank you for starting this adventure with me and being the audience with whom I connect. I hope you feel strongly enough to share and help me build that platform.

Please follow and like us:

Keeping Humor Alive in Baking

I think it’s time I loosened up a little in this blog. Most of my posts thus far have been quite serious and reflective, which clearly is important in life. But I think one of the absolute most important things in life is keeping a good sense of humor. My husband makes me laugh incessantly day in and day out and it has always been one of the top qualities that I look for in anyone that I am close to. Humor is absolutely crucial to leading a fulfilling life.

I myself contribute significantly to the humor category in my own special way. While I might not be quick and witty in certain situations, I certainly make up for that in other ways. Something I’ve been doing all my life has been putting craft projects out there that might have the initial intention of being serious art but inevitably translate into humorous outcomes. Many of the friends that have been with me for years and years can confirm this. And I could probably have one blog completely dedicated to these creations if I could locate all of the photos.

One of my hobbies as over the last few years has been cake making. While I have had several cakes come out in a mostly presentable manner, I had to resurrect the Cat Woman cake that I made for my daughter’s 5th birthday shown here:

To the untrained eye, it has some solid cake elements. The fondant looks decent and Cat Woman’s face looks quite attractive. When one looks deeper however, one wonders why Cat Woman has been attacked and held down by a purple serpent. Most people do not want to point this out however due to general polite society. They simply say, “Wow…nice…” in an excited yet confused fashion. In actuality, I could not make the fondant body support the big head and had to cover the mistake by pretending she was holding a whip. But looking back on the situation, I’m so happy that I created this and so many of my art projects that have brought endless laughter to countless situations.

We can’t take ourselves too seriously in this endeavor called life. A good laugh can get you through many a crisis and I have plenty of humorous art projects to share. Look for more as the blog continues…

Please follow and like us:

The Lure of Reading

“We read to know that we are not alone.” -C.S. Lewis

I remember how lonely I was when I first moved to New York by myself. I was never one to move or stay somewhere just because I had a friend in that location. I know that sounds counter intuitive, but I always thought I would challenge myself to dive into the unknown alone, and friends would naturally follow. I cheated myself out of many possible good times by that self-induced edict but hindsight is always 20/20.

While I was settling in to my first apartment about 30 minutes outside of New York City, I enjoyed traveling here or there on weekends to visit any number of friends across the country. I also enjoyed every second that I explored so many inches of NYC by myself. But the weeknights or weekends I did not travel were eerily quiet. I needed something to quiet my fears and quench my mind.

My favorite trip outside of that apartment was going to the local Barnes & Noble Bookstore. It was as if when I opened those doors all the knowledge in the entire universe was right in front of me for the taking. It wasn’t like in college where the professor chose the books for me to read. I could read about anything and everything I wanted to know about. An education of my own design was imminent and I was voracious in sucking out the marrow.

Those books, those characters and all the knowledge that came with them were my friends during a time when I needed them most. They have shaped me into the person I am today and I am forever grateful. I can only hope to give those larger than life connections to anyone who reads this blog.

Which books have been your best friends?

Please follow and like us:

Sinatra’s Best Advice

 “Try your best and never give up.  When life gets hard, play harder” -Me to my son

This has been one of my harder years with several setbacks and frustrations. As I have mentioned in this blog more than once, I often seek to calm myself amidst rushes of anxiety and I have found wonderful mantras to meditate upon when things get difficult. Tonight I realized that I will be the source of several mantras for my own children to reflect upon as they go through life.

I’ve thought so many times of the things my father, who passed in 2006, told me growing up.  One of my favorite memories of him is when we used to listen to an eight track tape of Frank Sinatra. We would listen to “That’s Life” over and over and sing at the top of our lungs. Those lyrics ring in my head:

 “I’ve been a puppet, a pauper, a pirate
A poet, a pawn and a king
I’ve been up and down and over and out
And I know one thing
Each time I find myself flat on my face
I pick myself up and get back in the race”

I knew my father believed wholeheartedly in those lyrics because much of the advice he gave me was about fighting through when things got tough. As I told my son tonight not to get discouraged and to play hard even when things are tough, tears began to stream down my face. I realized that I should make sure I take my own advice too. And the advice of my dad and Sinatra that started so long ago.

When things are hard, it’s difficult to see out of our clouds. But grit is so important. Keep fighting and things will get better, always.

Please follow and like us:

How Can We Help?

On NPR this morning I tuned into a discussion with a journalist who had recently spent time in North Korea. I instantly thought of when Otto Warmbier was “released” earlier this year, right before his death. I watched the TV in complete horror as I became sick to my stomach imagining what awful things they could have done to him.

The journalist went on to discuss how in North Korea, they have a way of ensuring the people don’t rebel. It’s known as the ‘three generations of punishment” rule. If you organize rebellion, not only will you be sent to prison camp, but your children and your children’s children are doomed to live out their lives there as well. The North Korean people only know lives full of constant fear and complete lack of hope.

Atrocities against humans happen everyday all over the world. Basic human rights are violated every second. I don’t pretend to know the answers to solve these problems. But we can not live in a bubble saying we don’t know how to help either. We are incredibly lucky to live in this country where we are free; so many lost their lives so that we may enjoy that reality. And when we band together, we always make a difference.

What are your thoughts on how we can help?

Please follow and like us:

Imagine

“You may say I’m a dreamer
But I’m not the only one
I hope some day you’ll join us
And the world will be as one” -John Lennon, Imagine

I have always been someone who sees the world not as it is, but as it could be. That can be a good thing and it can be a very bad thing. I’ve always been envious of the realists in that regard. For me, on the inside, life can be constantly stressful; I’m forever trying to fix things. With a tweak here and a tuck there, everything could be perfect.

In all of the anti-anxiety manuals, they tell you to let go of all that you can’t control; they tell you to stop trying to make everything into the ideal. Buddhism says that suffering ends when you accept things as they are, not as they should be. And sure, all of those tenets are very helpful in making me feel more relaxed and less stressed out.

But seriously, even though I would love to be stress-free all the time, what good does that do humanity as a whole? This planet, while so wonderful on so many levels, still needs a ton of work. We need to keep learning, keep challenging and keep CHANGING the world for the better. We all know there is hope. But with hope must come ACTION. And if we all believe and challenge ourselves to make it happen, we CAN create the perfect world. It’s all up to us.

Imagine that.

Please follow and like us:

Don’t Underestimate Me

“You’re not that smart, you just work hard.” -Sister Mary Ann to me in the first grade.

On the website, www.simplypsychology.org, Saul McLeod discusses Carl Rogers’ (1959) belief that self concept has three different components: the view you have of yourself (self image), how much value you place on yourself (self esteem or self-worth), [and] what you wish you were really like (ideal self). I could go on for days about all of these theories. But today I’d like to stick to the effects of someone else’s ill-conceived comments on a youth’s self-concept. At the age of six, I was quite impressionable. And as a serious student of an all-girl Catholic school, I took everything I was told as the be-all/end-all answer. Apparently, I was not smart.

As I mentioned in a previous post, therapy has taken situations like this and placed them into context for me. Thankfully, I have carefully thought through this experience many times and instead of believing it, I have turned it into an opportunity to discuss how important it is for us to believe in our own abilities as human beings, and not allow ourselves to be forced into someone else’s schema of how they see and order the world around them, especially in academia.

As I listen to those around me, I am constantly hearing people categorize themselves. “I’m a math person, not an English person.” “I’m a science person, not a language person…” and so on. Just because certain subjects may take us more time to understand than others, does not mean we have to consider ourselves completely incapable of learning them. It happens in personality too. Just because we don’t always enjoy extroversion over introversion, doesn’t mean we can’t adapt in certain situations.

The world is tough enough as it is without us placing all sorts of chains on ourselves. People are forever going to try to fit you into their order of understanding. It is crucial that you don’t let them and allow yourself to flourish into the amazing person you were meant to be. You can be everything, if you only let yourself be.

 

 

 

Please follow and like us:

Thoughtful Leadership

“You know, great powers don’t get angry, great powers don’t make decisions hastily in a crisis.” -John R Allen

During my career, I have been lucky enough to lead teams and truly make a difference in individual’s lives. And as with any such opportunity, there have been critiques. I have sometimes been criticized for taking too long to make a decision. In certain circumstances, people have longed for swift judgements, which from their perspective, were extraordinary clear. But I recall, in all of those circumstances, there would be those severely adversely affected by such a decision. Not everyone on a team knows the intricacies behind their colleagues’ stories.

People with limited understanding of one side of a situation will blindly call for swift “justice,” as they understand it.  But they have not thought through completely the lives of those on the other side. And it is not always their job to do so. But it is clearly the decision maker’s job to fully and carefully evaluate all sides and all options.

True leadership is thoughtful leadership. It is not leadership seeking attention, leadership seeking power or leadership with a selfish agenda. A leader must not make uninformed decisions at lightning speed so they can be viewed as decisive and resolute. People who make such decisions do so only so that their egos can be inflated by the short-term praise they win.  But the long-term effects of those hasty decisions are potentially devastating and permanent.

As a leader, you are entrusted by your people to be thoughtful. They expect you to be fair. They need you to think through all intended and unintended consequences. You should be educated in the rights and wrongs of historical events. The President of this great country continues to make reckless, impulsive, careless decisions which will severely alter the lives of so many so that he can continue to build a shallow resume filled only by ego-driven motivation.

We must continue to think and resist.

Please follow and like us:

Nutrition for the Soul

“Take Time to do What Makes Your Soul Happy”-Unknown

I’ve been reading seriously for about a year now about physical nutrition. I’m forever trying to get healthy and get to my ideal weight, while constantly falling prey to eating due to stress and emotions. I truly believe that if you get your sustenance right, the rest falls into place. Our bodies thrive given the proper fuel. I’m still on that personal journey but know I will eventually get there in my own time.

What I have found to be just as important, and something I’ve been more vehement in protecting, is getting the proper nourishment for my soul. My stomach growls when it needs food and weakness begins to set in. In kind, my mind and heart wear down without qualified refreshment.  Of course, that type of replenishment requires one of the hardest luxuries to find: time.

We are all in a game of survival on this planet. While certainly more evolved than the animals in the wild, we still have needs that must be met. We don’t have to hunt for our food in this day and age, but every day is still filled with all the stresses of paying the bills and feeding our families. Who amongst us would not love to simply spend our entire days doing only the things we love. Alas, we must make a living.

But what truly separates us from the wild is the burning need for connection, understanding and peace. And just as important as making time to cook nutritive meals, we must make time for the restocking of the spirit. In order to give, we must refill. I believe that all of us need very different things to keep ourselves truly happy, but we need to make the time to understand what those things are, and demand the time to do them. The simpler those activities can be, the more realistic they are to accomplish.

Do you truly give yourself the time you need to rejuvenate?

Please follow and like us: