Thursday, December 29, 2022

New Year's Resolutions: Lose the Right Weight

Since I am the only Jewish momma many of you have, I feel obligated to tell you the truth. In the New Year, you do need to lose that weight.

Lose the weight of the world. Your shoulders are strong and beautiful. They were never meant to carry the universe. Keep doing what you can to make our world a better place; we need you more than ever. But, as you do, remember that the world will keep spinning even if you stop pushing.

Lose the weight of the past. You made mistakes. You didn’t do your best. You spoke in anger. Maybe you messed up this year. Maybe you’re still fretting about something from decades ago. Or, perhaps the weight you bear stems from another’s action. Someone wounded you, abused you, broke you. No matter what your past burden, dear heart, let this be the year you let it go.

Lose the weight of expectations. I don’t know if it’s your expectations weighing you down or expectations imposed upon you. I do know that fear of failure can paralyze progress. This year, expect to do your best. Do it. And applaud your effort regardless of the results. Step by step gets you where you’re going.

As we look ahead, let’s stop measuring success by how many pounds we lose. Let’s measure success by how many lives we enrich. Let’s measure success by how generously we give, how wholeheartedly we laugh, how deeply we love.

This year and every year, let’s be kind to each other. Let’s be kind to ourselves.

Here’s to a happy, healthy year for all of us. May you lose what you need to lose, find what you hope to find, and pause long enough to remember: It really is a wonderful world.

(This post is an edited excerpt from Look Up: Your Unexpected Guide to Good. I'm always editing; that's one of the joys of writing. Happy New Year, peeps!)


Friday, November 25, 2022

Mom's Wish for You

Last Sunday, I woke up; poured myself a cup of coffee; snuggled up on the couch with the newspaper; and immediately thought, "Oh, I need to get ready for bingo."

I don't need to get ready for bingo. My bingo buddy died four years ago today. Very early on a Sunday, by the by. I got the call while I was there on the couch. With my coffee. And the paper. Right before I got ready for our weekly bingo date.

Ah, well. Memories. You never know when they'll pop up. Happily, after four years without Mom, a bingo flash doesn't spark tears. I'm more likely to smile, raise my coffee cup in a silent toast, and go about the day. 

That's not to say I don't miss her, of course. Heck, my grandmother died 46 years ago and I still miss her all the time. But the trite expressions are true: The passage of time does smooth the rough and jagged edges of grief. 

Today, on Mom's yahrzeit, I have a candle burning in her memory. And, I want to share the lesson she taught that is shaping my life as I ease into retirement:

Be willing to be delighted. 

What are you doing today? Resting? Driving home from a family gathering? Shopping? Doodling? Reading? Playing bingo? Whatever is on your list, go into the experience with Lillian's perspective. Be willing to be delighted. Look up. Look for the good. 

God knows it's easy enough to see all the awfulness these days -- so don't take the easy way out. Look for something wonderful and unexpected, even if it's tiny. The perfect sentence in that book you're reading. A bite of food with exactly the right mix of turkey and stuffing. A friendly grin from the stranger at the service station, a silent acknowledgement that you're both freezing while pumping gas. Whatever. 

There are delightful moments all around us, waiting to be seen. Or heard. Or felt. 

Or remembered. 

Lillian Marie Sokoloff, my favorite poet
"B7, Go to Heaven!"
God love you, Mom. 

Friday, August 12, 2022

The Secret to Success

Hard to believe, but this month marks 20 years (20 YEARS!) since I launched Sokoloff Harness Communications LLC. Best of all, it’s my final business anniversary. I plan to retire from my two remaining clients at the end of the year.

To celebrate the achievement, I thought about listing 20 lessons learned as a creative entrepreneur. But let’s be real. Ain’t nobody got time for that. So, as my anniversary gift to you, here are my top five tips:

1.    Listen more than you talk. As you listen, make and maintain eye contact.
People want to be heard. People want to be seen. Be the person who truly pays attention, and watch clients, colleagues, and kids gravitate to you. Positive attention is a powerful magnet.  

2.    Sandwiches should always be cut on the diagonal and arranged on the plate like a butterfly.
This is true whether you’re serving a grilled cheese sandwich to a toddler or making a peanut butter sandwich for yourself – and no one else is home.

3.    I don’t have to tell you why turning your sandwich into a work of art is an essential life lesson. You will figure it out.
Besides, my why won’t be your why. We all have our own whys.

4.    Manners matter.
Thank you for remembering this.

5.    Life gets easier when you give up the need to always be right.
Not a critical issue? Let someone else win. If the most competitive fool in the universe (aka, me) can do this, you can do it too. Hmmm. I’m retiring. I hereby bequeath my “most competitive fool in the universe” title to … well, you know who you are.

Now, listen closely because I have one more thing to tell you. This is the true secret to success:

Help others succeed.