Present Tense

I’m successful…I think


I’m thinking about success.  What is it? How do we define it? How do we achieve it?

This is on the heels of the radio show that I co-host winning another Morning Show of the Year award from the Colorado Broadcasters Association.  It’s great to be recognized for excellence; it’s what we strive for and once we get there, it feels pretty good. Success.

But, I think that that we put professional success on a pretty high pedestal.  I’ve spent the better part of my adult life working toward professional and financial success, while letting the personal stuff slide.  Over past couple of years I’ve begun to ratchet back my hunger for professional growth in order to grow personally and spiritually.

I know that a lot of people have managed to tie the two together.   Okay, a FEW people have been able to do that.  The rest of us read their books and wish we could manage that kind of balance.

Personally, I think that trying to integrate professional and personal success is nearly impossible; it’s the big lie.  Something has to give.  Professional success requires that the job comes first. Period. Your allegiance is to the folks who write the check.  That’s the way it works in our country, for better or for worse.

Put your needs or your family’s needs first and you are seen as ‘not a team player’.  You’re ‘not committed’.  You’re told to ‘get your priorities straight’, meaning work is first.  Work is all.  Your family and personal life will just have to wait.

I understand these requirements. I get that businesses must make a profit and that business success relies on productive and committed employees.  However, I also know that people are not machines and that a personally happy employee is a professional asset.

Maybe I can question the American definition of success because by most measures, I’ve achieved it. I’ve had a long and ultimately successful career as a radio host because years ago, I committed myself fully to that goal.  I’ve done well financially and have managed to build a decent nest egg.

But, I still struggle personally.  I battle guilt, insecurity, loneliness.  I worry about growing old and who will help me do that with grace and dignity.  I feel like my marriage is in a dangerously stagnant period and I’m not sure how to pull us out of the quicksand.  Success?

On the other hand, everyone struggles, don’t they?  Life is full of challenges and in the greater scheme of things, I’ve done okay.  But, I feel like I’m not successful in the ways that really count.   The success of the soul.

Maybe the word “success” is wrong.  It sounds so definitive; so black and white.  Maybe other words would help define what I’m seeking.  Peace, meaning, acceptance, clarity, truth, wisdom.  They are all softer, gentler words, aren’t they?

Fill me in.  What is success to you?  Teach me.

March 16, 2014 Posted by | Musings | , , , , , | 11 Comments

“You Will Fail”–Love, The Universe


My husband and I were having dinner with good friends the other night.  There was lots of laughter and chatter, until one of the couples received a text from their daughter who is away at college.  She had shared some bad news. 

She did not get into an academic program that she’d been working toward for the past two years.  It was devastating for her and by extension, her parents.

We all expressed our sympathies and reviewed everything she had done to ensure her success and acceptance into this program.  Her mom told us that getting into this program was all she had planned for.  She had no idea how she would move forward.

After the initial shock wore off, we started talking about what we’ve learned from our collective disappointments.  Since all of us were over 50, we had quite a stockpile to sift through.

The bottom line:  life is a series of disappointments and successes.  That’s really what it all comes down to and when you have the luxury of looking back, you can see how many of your most devastating failures or setbacks, were actually pivotal turning points.

We all rebound from losses.  ALL of us.  Loss may ding us or make us more wary, but eventually we find a way out.  That’s how life is set up.  Time keeps flowing like a wave to carry us to the beach; sometimes gently, sometimes in a violent crash.  But, it happens.

Look back on your most painful losses or failures. Think about a time when you didn’t get something that you wanted so badly.  You asked why, felt cheated, repeated to yourself and anyone who would listen that you had done all the right things to make this happen for you.  And yet, it didn’t.  You cried out that life is unfair.

Yup.  It is.  And it’s not.  Life just is.  Life is a series of ups, downs, joy, triumph, pain, suffering, loss, victories, good meals, bad meals, cuts, scrapes, financial losses, financial gains, speeding tickets, death, destruction, natural disasters, treachery, lessons and second chances.  That’s what we get when we pop our head (or our ass, which isn’t optimal) out of the womb.

Take a moment to think back, as we did sitting around the table, to those personal moments of loss and failure.  What came into your life as a result?  The vast majority of these challenges were overcome.  So many times when we’re forced to take the fork in the road, it was a great fork.  We grew, we learned, we adapted and sometimes, we even bloomed.

Maturity, time and age really help to dull the effects of the inevitable disappointments we face.   Events that used to send me into a tailspin barely register anymore.  I know that it will work out, that l will adapt and evolve. Yes, there are still things that knock me flat on my ass like the death of my dog, Chili last fall (more on that here).  I’m still brushing myself off from that and have not quite processed the take-away.  But, I will.   With enough time.

March 1, 2014 Posted by | Musings | , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

The REAL reason to love Oprah

I am about to make a shocking admission to all of you:  I’m a middle-aged woman who doesn’t worship Oprah.  Hold on……I’m waiting for the lightening bolt….because for a woman to say that she’s not on Oprah’s team, is the equivalent of coming out against oxygen.  But, I have sort of a love/hate relationship with Oprah and full disclosure:  I rarely watch her show anymore, but do catch one once in a while and I pick up her magazine a few times a year.  Having said that, I’m well aware of Oprah’s mission to make us all ‘just great’ and that’s where the problem comes in for me.  Oprah’s a smart cookie, so she KNOWS that if we all begin to love ourselves, as she proposes, we’ll have no use for her and her empire!  Which is where the cynic in me kicks in.  Oprah KNOWS that we’ll never love ourselves enough to dump her.  How does she know this?  Because Oprah, who is worth billions, has houses all over the world, is one of the most famous people in the universe, is hugely influential, perhaps to the point of electing a president, still doesn’t really like herself all that much.

“Oh, Jane, how can you say such a thing”!!!  Well, because, she’s gained back a bunch of weight (again), she is on a constant search for enlightenment, either through some cleansing program, or another spiritual ‘guide’, or she’s buying stuff.  But, even as she tries to fix herself, she realizes that the collective self-loathing among lots of us chicks, is enough to keep her Oprah brand in business for decades and that’s not necessarily a criticism, since many of her followers love that about her; she’s flawed like us!  Well, yeah, but she’s NOT like us and that brings me to what I love about Oprah: She’s RICH, RICH, RICH!!!!  Fabulously wealthy in a way that none of us will ever know.  But we could, if we put in the time, effort, sacrifices and toughness that it takes to achieve her level of success.

Here’s another thing to love about O:  she’s made many other people wealthy (and I’m NOT talking about her BFF, Gayle…that’s a whole other topic).  Oprah’s empire has created literally thousands of jobs, she’s created other empires for her chosen ones (Dr. Phil, Dr. Oz, Rachel Ray, Nate Berkus etc.), who in turn are creating jobs and wealth for others.  There is a great show, produced by CNBC, called “The Oprah Effect,” where they actually trace the billions of dollars that Oprah is responsible for creating for others.  Oprah is the pebble, plopping in the pond and her effect and influence, are the rings in the water, radiating out from the pebble.  As her fellow empire builder, Martha Stewart (love her, too) would say, “that’s a very good thing”.

So, while I’m not necessarily buying what O is selling, I’m in awe of her power, her cult of personality and her smarts!  She realizes that her influence is probably at it’s zenith, demographically, which is why she has created these other superstars, to carry on her legacy and grow the cash flow.  I’d be willing to bet that for women under the age of 35, Oprah, is only a blip on the radar and so, her decision to end her show in 2011 is brilliant.  She’s going out on top and will concentrate on her cable channel and create even more ‘little Oprahs’.   Oprah is a one-woman stimulus package and for that, I LOVE HER!

December 29, 2009 Posted by | Musings | , , , | 7 Comments


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