Savoring the Fall Season

Gazing at the calendar tells me we are in the midst of a colorful fall season filled with pumpkin spiced lattes, luscious soups, and cooler weather. Wait! Did you hear me, South Florida? I said cooler weather!

 Living in the tropics is exciting (as many of you know, I’m loving Florida Part II), but I would appreciate more of a seasonal change. Most of us enjoy a change of season, even ever so slight. I believe that our lives too have seasons. In fact, when I first stepped out into entrepreneurship, I titled my coaching business, “Seasons of Change.” 

Letting Go

Whatever season you feel your life is dancing toward, consider, at least for today, living in a fall season and fully appreciating the change it brings. It’s about trees slowly cascading their leaves, shedding layers, and baring branches. Anything you need to shed? (Sign yourself up for 10 pounds I hear a little voice inside my head shout rather loudly. Right, it’s not enough the scale screams at me, now my inner gremlin is leading the charge). But seriously, any chance you clinging to a hurt, a disappointment, a broken relationship? If so, note how Mother Nature brilliantly displays the act of letting go. The season is calling to you to forgive, forget, and move on.

Living Simply

Fall is a mellow time, someone once wrote it is “a season to find contentment at home by paying attention to what we already have.” As a self-described minimalist (granted I’m new to this), I genuinely appreciate the benefits of my much smaller new home.

You see, we moved to a small condo craving the soul-soothing surroundings of blue water more than square footage. Before leaving California last Spring, my husband and I made so many trips to the Goodwill Store, the manager asked us if we wanted a job there. John and I gave away at least 70% of our possessions. Now, although high-rise condo living might not be for everyone,  we delight in a clutter-free space that is easy to clean and maintain. I’m getting so good at this I don’t even have a junk drawer!

Like the fall season, get mellowed-out. You don’t have to go to drastic lengths like we did, maybe just clean out a closet and free yourself of things you never wear and no longer need.

Savor the Season

Lastly, Autumn is also about reaping the benefits of what was sowed during the summer months. It’s a period of gratitude that our hard work paid off. As written in Ecclesiastes 3, there is a “time to plant, and a time to pluck what is planted.” So perhaps it’s time to pause and savor the delights of the season.

Are you with me on this? Because I’m heading out for that pumpkin-spice latte and to honor the gods of shedding, I’ll ask the barista to make it non-fat and nix the whipped cream topping. 

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