It’s The Little Things

    For weeks I prepared for a very big move. I traded in life in the Golden State for my next chapter in the Sunshine State. If you’ve ever moved across the country, or across the street, you know when it comes to your personal belongings, there are many decisions to be made.

For me, the big stuff was a cake walk. Selling my furniture, giving away clothing, kitchen ware and electronics, all a no-brainer. It’s the little things that gave me pause. Articles like a mug, a shawl, a tray, a Christmas ornament, a selection of amazing spices,  all gifted to me by friends that I did not leave behind.

     That’s the way it is in life, right? The small items or happenings make your heart sing and bring you joy. A mother’s smile, a first kiss, the smell of coffee brewing in the morning, your fourth grader’s first home run, the list is infinite. It may have been Pooh who said, “Sometimes the smallest things take up the most room in your heart.” Well said dear Pooh. And for all of life’s little things, we should express gratitude.

For the small things that bring me joy, I am grateful

      We can also view this “little thing” concept from a goal achievement perspective. Obviously scoring small wins count when working toward the big goal. As Van Gogh stated, “Great things are done by a series of small things brought together.” He certainly proved it with each tiny little brushstroke. 

Something Small Goes BIG

Sometimes something small inadvertently turns into a big accomplishment. I once read that Dale Carnegie’s mega-best-seller, “How to Win Friends and Influence People,” started with a short speech that expanded to a workshop, soon after became a course and eventually, the book. According to Wikipedia, over 15 million copies of this book have been sold worldwide.

So maybe the life lesson here is dream big, but start small.

Stop for a moment and consider the possibility of something you started as a minor project. Is there promise is broadening the outcome? (Note to self: Listen to your own advice. Turn your career columns and motivational blogs into two separate books. )     

Two Take-Aways

Based on the experience, my advice is twofold. Take notice of, and delight in the small things.  Show appreciation to the guy who let you cut into traffic, the barista who made you the perfect Tall Flat White and the sound of your loved one’s laughter. At the same time, review your catalog of small projects and determine if you’ve created a diamond in the rough. The possibilities are limitless!!

Dear Readers,

My husband and I have now been in our South Palm Beach condo for a month. Our transition has been an amazing experience. Takes a bit of moxie to step out in faith, but well worth it.

Now that we are settled in, I am returning to blogging on a regular basis. Thank you for reading and I hope you will continue to subscribe to “Life on the Sunny Side.”

Love,

Sunny

Lowering the Bar Confessions from a Recovering Perfectionist

A dear friend of mine sent me a self-help book she loved as it spoke to her on multiple levels. I read chapter after chapter in which the author, Shauna Niequest, writer, speaker, wife and mother of two worked on remaking her overly hectic life after experiencing mega burn-out.

Although I had empathy for the author, as I took in her story I could not relate to her situation. You see I am hawk-like about guarding my calendar from over-scheduling.  I pride myself on this because it’s one of the few things I did not have to learn the hard way.

About three-quarters of the way through the book, I found a chapter aimed directly at me. Yes, this one had my name on it. My author-guide talked about her incessant desire for perfection as she planned for a holiday she knew looked so much better in her mind’s eye than how the whole event would actually shake down. After much soul searching, the writer came to the conclusion she must choose, “present over perfect.”

As I read, sentences like “perfect has become as near a dirty word to me as hustle, prove, earn, complete and push,” popped up making sense. It all came to a crashing crescendo when she wrote, “Perfect and the hunt for it will ruin our lives.”

Okay, I give up. I’m guilty of trying to create the perfect this, or the perfect that, and day-after-day continually disappointing myself. When I go to bed at night and start counting my blessings, somehow the “Perfection Princess” who lives in my head starts recounting all the things that did not live up to her standards. Reading on I got some advice on how to turn my quest for perfection on it’s ear.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

When the author professed, “It’s all about learning to show up and let ourselves be seen as we really are,” I thought wait a minute. If that means leaving the house without make-up, forget it. Not going to happen, at least not yet anyway.

Knowing I had to start somewhere, I chose entertaining. We invited another couple over for Saturday night dinner and drinks. Aha! Instead of spending hours scouring recipe books to design the perfect menu like I usually do, I opted for a simple rustic Italian dish created in the slow cooker. I really blew the lights out on dessert. Finding a cool creation on Pinterest involving store bought ice cream sandwiches and whipped cream, I put it together in under seven minutes.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The evening went well. Simple as the menu was, my guests ate with gusto. We all relaxed and enjoyed just being together over food and wine. When dessert was served I must admit, it looked like something a 3rd grader cooked up. But guess what? I didn’t care. It provided my guests with fits of laughter and some really good bites.

So cheers to “present over perfect.” I’m getting there. If you can relate to any of this, let me know and I’ll send you the recipe.

Thanks for reading! I’d love to hear your comments on how you deal with perfectionism.

You Can Scale Your Mountain or Conquer Any Barrier

 

Opening the text on my phone, I found a picture of a beautiful woman in a red dress accompanied by an interesting vehicle. Smiling I realized my friend Carol, forever an inspiration to me, was not going to let a broken foot keep her down. She knows how to conquer obstacles. Here was a perfect example of one of my mother’s favorite expressions, “Where there is a will, there is a way.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Studying the picture, I realized Carol was following doctor’s orders by using this cool four-wheel vehicle to keep off her broken foot. Her knee rested on a plank allowing her good leg to push her around scooter-like. Again I was reminded of something a friend’s mother once said: “Everything is figure-out-able.” I remembered laughing at the made up word, but loved it nonetheless.

Carol’s actions, and the mother-isms I love, are life lessons. Often situations in everyday life trigger road blocks dotting our life landscape like immense mountains or menacing walls. Don’t let those barriers stop you.

Assign a Label

Need a suggestion to help design a way to tunnel under or scale your wall like Superman leaping tall buildings? Begin by labeling your wall. It could be limited thinking. For example, what if Carol believed the only way to heal was to stay in bed with her foot propped on a pillow accompanied by a bell used to summon family members to wait on her. Well you get it, she wouldn’t be wearing that red dress looking like she’s ready to conquer the world.

Perhaps your label is fear of the unknown. I once wanted to accept a teaching position in Australia. What stopped me? Anxiety over being halfway around the world removed from friends and family. Regretfully, I allowed fear to squash my adventure.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

No Pity Parties

Once you uncover the cause of your frustration, get over it! Sounds harsh, but don’t waste time feeling sorry for yourself. You lost the sale, got laid off, had to cancel a much needed vacation because your car broke down and fixing it sucked up precious leisure funds.

Stop the pity party. Want the vacation? Get a second job. Lost the sale? Figure out why and take another run at it. Got laid off? Write a dynamite resume and begin your job search.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Deal With It

Find a way to deal with the hand life dealt you. My friend Barb gave me this tea towel which clearly illustrates my point.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Or, if limoncello is not your thing, let me remind you of a bumper sticker I once saw to drive home my message: When life hands you lemons, throw them back and demand chocolate!

Get the picture? Scale your wall, move your mountain, get the job done I know you can because as wise women once said, everything is figure-out-able.