Success! How do you measure it?

Everyone has a different definition of what success means to them. Some focus on the financial. Others on a particular job. Some have a particular goal like running a marathon. Success for me is all about being the best human being I can be. Of course I have career goals. And things I would like to achieve in my life. But am I a human being that I would like to spend time with? If you had to spend 24 hours a day with someone just like you would you do it? Just so you know you do that already!

I’ve heard many celebrities who have an obsessive goal of achieving success through winning awards, possessions and money beyond their wildest dreams. And that most of them found that those things did not bring them happiness. In fact they were waiting for a particular feeling that they thought success would bring – but it felt kind of hollow.

I think it’s important to look at how we pursue success. Are we kind? Or do you treat others as stepping stones that you walk all over to achieve your goal. I think it’s important to achieve goals ethically and to be kind in the process.

I know a lot of our world measure success as having a big house with a swimming pool and a luxury car in the driveway. And if that make someone happy I am not here to judge them for that. But I am actually happier since we downsized from our house to a condo. Less than a mile from my house as a community center with a swimming pool. And I love driving my little Honda Civic! To me material things give a fleeting feeling. But the real deep down things in relationships is what makes me feel successful.

Being a success in whatever you do requires a commitment. Sometimes others will not agree with you. Sometimes others will doubt you. Sometimes others will be watching for you to fail. In the end it’s not what others say or do it’s how you handle it.

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The great country music artist Reba McEntire said “To succeed in life you need three things: A wishbone, a backbone and a funny bone.” I agree with her completely – we need to have a dream, stay committed to it and keep our sense of humor.

Stay positive! If you can stay positive that in itself is a success!

Being positive isn’t always easy!

If you are someone who follows my blog you may notice that periodically I take a few weeks off. That’s usually when I am having a hard time staying positive. Disappointment, irritations, resentments and things not going my way prevent me from staying positive. That happens when you’re a human being. The important thing is to not stay there in the negative feelings. Choose to turn your attitude around to being positive.

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I have also come to appreciate that you can’t enjoy the view from the top of the mountain unless you have also been in the valley. What I mean by that is that you can only appreciate the positive when you have experienced the feeling of being negative. When I feel negative it is like a feeding frenzy! Everything feels like the worst thing ever. When I feel negative even good things feel bad. But when things turn around in my thinking and I go back to being positive, everything feels good. Like everything is going my way.

Have you ever been having a bad day and and then you stub your toe? And then your coffee spills all over your white shirt? And you’re carrying the groceries into the house and the bags break? And then you forget that you missed an appointment that you made months ago? Everyone has those times! I promise you that they don’t last.

But you have to look for the good! Make a list of all the things that are good in your life! Remember that “this too shall pass”. No bad day lasts forever. It is up to you to make a change in attitude. Some people will say – but you don’t know my situation – an attitude change is not enough. If that’s the case, remember you have choices! Think long and hard about what you choose to do in your life. Make choices that will give you a happy life, joy and positivity. It’s up to you to make that happen.

Even I get down and feel negative. I get it. Life is hard. But this is MY Life – I get to choose. I choose to be Positively Inspired. How about you?

Admit that no one’s life is perfect!

No offense to Norman Rockwell but his artwork usually depicted an ideal and perfect situation. It was a snapshot of a moment in time. Many see that as perfection. Being perfect is an illusion. Some people try so hard to achieve it that it makes them sick, anxious and depressed. I believe in focusing on making progress and not giving in to the perception of perfection.

If you live in the US you have already been inundated with commercials, emails and conversation about ways to give Mom the perfect gift and perfect day for Mother’s Day. I love my mom very much and I’m blessed to have a positive relationship and that we can spend time together.

However, that is not the case for everyone. Some have mothers that were and are very hard on them – maybe they ridiculed, belittled or abused them. Some mothers may have neglected their children. Some mourn the loss of a mother gone too soon. Some mourn that they will never be mothers. Some are mothers who had children who have lost their way or have passed away. Others are desperately trying to have children. There are so many different experiences that are happening to so many people.

What I am trying to get at is that there is no perfect anything. Life happens to people in different ways. For me – Mother’s Day is two things. One – It is a wonderful celebration of the woman who gave me life. Two – it is also a day where I acknowledge that being a mother will never happen for me and my wonderful mother will not get to be a grandmother to my children.

But this is not the end of my world. Anyone going through any of the pain I’ve already mentioned – there are support groups to help you. I attend a support group called Gateway Women. We talk about having a fullfilling life even though we weren’t able to have children and really wanted to.

I know this is hard to believe- but it is also true for father’s day. The “perfect” situation is an illusion. Be kind- realize that the world around you is full of people with a variety of experiences- which may not be the same as yours. Being compassionate and kind – keeps me positive.

Hey – have a great day!! Not a perfect one – a GREAT one!!

Celebrate milestones!

Today I celebrate my one year anniversary of working at the Hard Rock Rocksino Northfield Park, in the best job I have ever had. This year I turned 50! My husband got a new job! I went on a Pilgrimage to Israel. One of my friends was in a dance competition! And I reached the 1 year anniversary of this blog! These are just a few examples of milestones.

Oxford Dictionary defines milestone as ” a stone set up beside a road to mark the distance in miles to a particular place.” I always thought of a milestone as something Big that needs a gigantic celebration! And sometimes it is! But I like the idea of it being something that is marked on the way to a particular place.

It’s the journey. It’s the events in our lives that build memories. They help me feel good about my progress and my path in life. Frankly, they are the moments that mark steps in my journey of life.

Some people just let life happen to them. They always feel like a victim. Never happy. Always the sad face and a disappointed look on their face. I think if they looked at the milestones in their lives, they would see a cause for joy!

Life has many ups and downs. Some might call them hills and valleys. On that hike through life stop to see that rock at the side of the road that marks your mileage on the journey. That in fact is what your life is – a series of milestones on the way to what you have created- a great life meant to be enjoyed.

Be positive. Positively Inspired!

Trying vs. Doing — a Positive Perspective Shift…

I’ve always thought that when someone says they are going to “try” to do something, there is no commitment in it.  That they aren’t really going to do what they say they will “try” to do.  I have found that to be true in my life.  And a conversation I had with someone recently reminded me of that.  It is definitely a commitment when you say “I am going to do it.”  It is a way of stating that this is now your goal and you are actively going to pursue it.

For example, have you ever invited someone to a party or an event you are hosting and they say, “I’ll try to make it”?  Does that person ever attend your event after saying that?  No. Very rarely does try mean do.

It is good to “try” new things.  But it is not a good thing to “try” someone’s patience.  This is all very trying… okay I digress.

All of this reminds me of the character Yoda’s comment in the movie “The Empire Strikes Back”.  He is talking to a young Luke Skywalker who says that he is trying to do something but it is hard.  Yoda responds “Do. Or Do Not.  There is no try.”

Copyrighted – Lucas Films

Where I am going with this is that when you are ambivalent about a certain course of action it is hard to stay positive.  When you commit to a goal and a course of action, make a plan and then execute that plan – it is easier to stay positive. This doesn’t mean that the path is easy or even clear for you to see where things are going.  But it does give you a light to work towards that is bright and positive.

I am doing what is needed to have a positive life.  I am taking my opportunities to be joyful and active in my own life.  It is a choice to look at life from this point of view.  It’s a positive perspective.  To have this perspective you have to make a shift from Trying to Doing.  Give it a … Try? NO!  DO IT!.

Be Positively Inspired!

 

How to make friends- be one first!

There are many amazing people in my life. Some I have just met recently and others I have known most of my life. Regardless of the length of time we’ve known each other, I find that the quality of our relationships is what keeps me positive.

I love my friends. I try to show them how much they mean to me by keeping in touch and building great experiences together. I definitely have fun with my friends. We laugh! Boy do we laugh! But we have also cried together and have had our share of pity parties. There is nothing like a hug from a friend when I’m down.

I have learned that being a friend is a two-way street. I check on my friends to see how they are doing. I listen. I help them. I invite them to do things. I text. I leave voicemails when I can’t get ahold of them on the phone. We talk things through. I have also learned that in order to have good friends I have to be one first.

I have also learned that being a good friend to myself is important too. If a friendship is toxic or unhealthy for me – I end it. It is the best thing for me and that other person.

Building and keeping positive friendships is what keeps me positive. When you think of your friends- tell them. When you miss your friends – tell them. Tell them how they make you feel, what you appreciate about them, what they mean to you.

To have a friend- be one.

Celebrate every day you get!

On Monday, I will turn 50 years old.  There are so many people who dread celebrating any birthday or dread turning a certain age.  Mostly the reason they feel this way is because they are getting older.  I look forward to my birthday and I usually talk about when it is a month or two in advance.  I feel blest to get another day, month and year with those I love. I get chances to try new things, enjoy new people and experiences and LIVE!  Looking back at my life, there are many reasons why I value that I am going to be 50.  I will share them with you.

I treasure the time I get with my two amazing and loving parents and their relatives. My fantastic brother and his wife are awesome.  And of course my husband and my wonderful friends.

But when I was 19 – I couldn’t see any of that, all I could see was that I was going to flunk out of college and that my goal of perfectionism was falling short.  I did the unthinkable.  I didn’t want to let all of those people down – so I attempted to take my own life – I attempted suicide.  Now I know that it was due to dealing with depression.  Depression is a real and medically treatable illness.  On that day I couldn’t see that there was more to my life than those grades.  Don’t get me wrong, grades are important.  But they are not worth a life.  They weren’t worth mine.

I have come to believe that my life being saved – was a miracle and it was saved for a purpose.  To let others know that nothing is bad enough that you can’t hold on for another 24 hours. PLEASE talk to someone, a friend, a relative, a therapist, a spiritual advisor, a hotline number, just don’t stay alone in your thoughts.  YOU have VALUE.  I HAVE VALUE.

You should know that I was raised to know that I have value – my parents are very loving as were my grandparents.  No one ever told me that I wasn’t.  It was my illness telling me that.  I am so grateful to God that I was not successful.  Because of this experience, I make sure to tell people that they matter to me and that they have value.  But I also tell them that therapy is important, a support system and spiritual life is important.

After having this blog for over a year, I thought I would share part of my journey to being positive.  I have been referred to as “Miss Mary Sunshine” before by people.  Always so positive.  Always so focused on the good.  Looking for a silver lining in everything.  It’s because I have PERSPECTIVE.  I don’t ever want to forget that I am BLEST to have another day on this earth with all the people I love.

Why am I so glad to be turning 50?  Because the alternative sucks.  I love my LIFE.  LIVING it – really LIVING it – takes work, patience, love and a positive attitude.  There are so many people who don’t get to live this long. If my suicide attempt had worked, I would have missed 31 years of AMAZING experiences and people.  I am grateful to still be here and feel that it is my purpose to share that with others.

DON’T MISS OUT on the Miracles!  CELEBRATE every day you get!  Be Inspired.  Positively Inspired.

PS.  Happy Birthday to me!

You are stronger than you think.

Have you ever felt like you couldn’t handle one more thing? I feel like that sometimes. It’s human. It’s important to remember that those feelings are temporary. Take a deep breath and remember that this too shall pass. It can feel exhausting and hopeless when you are overwhelmed. Remember that you are actually stronger than you think.

We all have strengths. Make sure that you celebrate them. Own that you are good at certain things. Sometimes it’s easier for other people to see your strengths. I would bet if you ask your best friend to list five or 10 things that you are great at they would be able to do it quickly.

Try that out with a friend or colleague. You may be surprised that you are known for bringing certain strengths to the table. Thank those friends and colleagues for the feedback. Take a look at that list and realize you are stronger than you think.

Now – make your own list. Where do you excel? A strength is something that you are good at. It feels as natural to you as breathing. Self-confidence and strength are not the same as being conceited or a braggart.

To maintain a positive attitude it is important to acknowledge our own value. Acknowledge that we are unique. Acknowledge your strengths.

Once you’ve got that going – – start sharing with others the strength you see in them.

We are stronger together.

Music – The Soundtrack of Life. 2018 Edition….

My blog has been up and running since March 10, 2017… Alot has happened since then.  I now work at a great company that is aligned with my thinking about so many things… including MUSIC.  In honor of the 1 year anniversary of the blog and acknowledgement of the impact MUSIC has in my daily life – including work… please enjoy my blog from March 22, 2017. ROCK ON!

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Music is used for many things: to create a peaceful environment, to lift spirits, create inspiration, to celebrate special times and more.  Why do you think that is? I think it’s because we connect our favorite music and lyrics to memories and emotions that have made us feel one way or another.

Have you ever been in the car and your favorite song comes on the radio?  Oh yeah!  Time to turn it up and sing along!  And who cares if not all the notes are on key?!  Those few minutes bring a feeling of great happiness, joy and release.  A release of whatever is weighing on your mind.

I enjoy going to concerts and I love a wide variety of music: Rock, Country, Classical, Jazz, Blues, New Age, Religious, Showtunes (aka Musicals), R&B, Folk music.  One of my favorite musicians is Rick Springfield. He’s still rocking, recording and touring since the 1970s.  I have a great time dancing and singing along to his music.  I also enjoy the songs that make me think about how we treat each other in life. His music has often brought me comfort and joy!

Rick Springfield – Cleveland, OH 9.11.2015 (photo by Sharon Berezne)

What is your favorite music?  Your favorite singer and/or musician? Do the music and lyrics make you happy?  Do you have a better attitude after listening to it?  Take time to consider the music is making up the “soundtrack of your life”.

I know that not everyone gets to meet their favorite musician.  I am lucky enough to have been able to meet him.  When I had the chance, I told him that his music got me through some tough times in my life.  After I told him that, we took this picture together.

Rick Springfield and Sharon Berezne 11.12.2016

I don’t know if you can read my t-shirt in the picture.  It says: Take a Chance. Run Wild. Create Beauty. Believe in Love. Travel Far. Stay Young.

And I will add one:  Be Positively Inspired!

The Future is Female – Happy International Women’s Day!

Yesterday, March 8th, was International Women’s Day.  There are billions of women around the world who make a difference.  I am sure by now that you have heard the phrase – “the future is female”.  It’s been around for decades.  So to all my male readers – this is not about putting you down.  It is about lifting women up.  To point out that we matter and we can continue to make a difference at a larger and grander scale in the world.

It’s important to be confident and proud of your accomplishments in life. In my opinion it is even more important to be confident and proud of who you are as a woman.

Sometimes, the first thing a woman is asked is – are you married?  Do you have kids?  Do you work outside the home?  Interesting that I rarely have heard a man asked these questions… But I digress.  Whether a woman is married, has children and where she works should not be the only categories that indicate she has value in the world.  I have many friends who are not married and don’t have children – they bring great value into the world. For more information on resources related to this go to www.thenotmom.com or http://gateway-women.com  .  I don’t have children – I know I bring value into the world.

So here where I am going with my blog this week.  Women matter.  All of them.  Just like the Black Lives Matter Movement – it is not about putting down other groups.  The Black Lives Matter Movement is about recognizing the pain and struggle that African-Americans have dealt with (and still do) – racism, Jim Crowe laws, lynchings and mistreatment.  That is not okay.  It matters that it happened and the movement is putting a spotlight on that.

Women still deal with  sexism, inequality, sexual harassment, condescending behavior from some men in society.  The goal here is to reduce this as much as possible with education of the facts and suggest solutions to make this better.  Being positive and standing up for yourself are not mutually exclusive.  Tell people when their behavior is not okay.  It is positive to let others know that you matter – that you have value.  Don’t think for a minute that people already know you add value – sometimes you need to remind them.

Think about all the things that you do in your life to make a difference.  Take a positive step today. Be inspired. Be Positively Inspired.