Introducing Irma

I could write about the day I met Irma. It’s a funny, and entertaining story, and I hate to tease you, but that’s a saga for another time. Today I’m going to reveal the Irma I know up close and personal. If you can relate to reinventions, creating a successful second chapter of your career life or if you just plain love motivational stories about dynamic women, then read on.

Recently my friend contributed a chapter to an international bestselling book, “Voices of the 21st Century,” a tome about gutsy women who carved out their own path leaving education, inspiration and a blueprint for other females in their wake.

As the book jacket proclaims, Irma Parone is a “sought-after leadership consultant, speaker and author.” Buy the book and read more of her back story. She writes of her career with authenticity, embracing all she is, displaying her kick ass talent of dealing with what life throws at her and coming out on top no matter the odds.

But there is so much more to the CEO of Parone Group.  She’s the gal you want to sit next to at one of those conferences for women. She will engage you and have you laughing from your first bite of the mixed green salad to the last morsel of the ever-present rubber chicken. During that luncheon, it won’t be all about Irma. She will pepper you with questions and quickly have you declaring your future dreams with confidence. Why? Because she is really, really good at getting women like us to believe in ourselves. My advice is lean in close, and listen intently because you will learn from her.

Parone is a fighter. Yep, she’s a badass who worked her way to the top in a male dominated industry without the help of any fairy godmother or female movement. I suppose the secret sauce to her success is a four- letter word: grit. She is persistent, never gives up and having discovered long ago that success and failure go hand-in-hand, is constantly learning. Irma is not shy about telling you what failure feels like, but she is the kind of woman who looks a problem in the face with a wink along with her trademark mischievous smile.  

Another factor key to Parone’s success is passion. Experiencing any employee issues? Just ask her about creating high-value service levels and trusting relationships that earn the support and loyalty of your staff. She excels at this and is passionate about creating organizational effectiveness.

Lastly my friend is never timid about seeking and receiving support and forever grateful as evidenced by the lines she wrote in the book:

I think we can all agree that much of the emotional and mental strength we possess often comes from the strong bonds we have with our amazing female friends. A trusted ally is a lifeline. Much of the time our female friends know and understand us better than our partners. A recent study done at UCLA revealed what we already knew. Friendships between women are special on so many levels. Yep, that’s the call we make when we need a listening ear, some wise counsel or a night out with a good glass of wine and some meaningful conversation.

I hope you all have a friend like Irma in your life. A lunch or dinner with Irma is better than any therapy session. Her wise advice and sincere caring come directly from the heart and there is always a pinch of spice that leaves me laughing.

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.