Keep it classy, Niners

Sunday I attended the Seahawks vs. 49ers game with my family in Candlestick Park. Numerous friends and strangers warned me to be safe and be careful. I shrugged off their concern.

Game day in Candlestick!

Game day in Candlestick Park!

I wasn’t worried because I’m a nice fan. I’m not one who provokes anger from the opposing team’s fans. I simply cheer for my team and its success. I don’t belittle the other team or their fans.

Sadly the Niner fans take competitive bantering to the level of vulgar swearing, “in your face” insults and physical intimidation. We truly were concerned for our safety.

We saw this sports bar readerboard while riding a cable car in San Francisco. It perfectly illustrates the classless Niner-fan mentality.

This sports bar readerboard we saw while riding a cable car typifies the classless Niner-fan mentality.

We felt comfortable when we were surrounded by the 12th Man at the tailgate party, but other than that our eyes were wide-open. Someone told me Candlestick Park was nothing more than a glorified penitentiary, and that is how it felt! I told my kids I should get them a T-shirt that says, “I survived Candlestick Park!”

Diehard 49er season-ticket holders who reflect the class of the past. They're giving up the tickets they've had for 50 years at the end of this season.

These diehard 49er fans have held season tickets for 50 years. They reflect the class of the past, and are giving up their tickets at the end of this season.

Perhaps when the Niners move to their new stadium next year their fan base will change. I hope so. The sweet couple in their 80s who sat behind us Sunday are such devout Niner fans they have a “49er shrine room” in their home. They said they’ve been season-ticket holders for 50 years but are releasing their tickets after this season. They said the team and fans have changed over the years and the class is gone. The glory days when the team was led by Joe Montana have passed.

So now I understand why my friends were concerned. Thankfully I believe all of the 12th Man in attendance made it out safely. Of course we were disappointed with the last-minute loss, but at least we made it out physically unharmed.

Most likely the Seahawks will play the Niners in the playoffs next month, and that game will be on our turf. The 12th Man won’t have to be told what color to wear to the game, when to cheer, or when our team has scored. (“Listen for the foghorn Niner fans – that means your team has just scored.”) Really? Are they not watching the game?

I could carry on with more negative Niner experiences, but I won’t. I’ll wrap up with one final thought. Hearing the SEA-HAWKS chant on our flights, throughout downtown San Francisco, in Candlestick’s parking lot and inside “The Stick” made me smile. I’m honored to represent the Seahawks and their class organization.

Niners – you have some work to do.

GO HAWKS!

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A Beautiful Reunion

2013 Sea Gals with alumni in the locker room at the Seahawks vs. Bucs game 11-3-13.

2013 Sea Gals with alumni in the locker room at the Seahawks vs. Bucs game 11-3-13.

I couldn’t get to sleep Saturday night. I knew the next day was going to be one I would remember for the rest of my life.

Reunions inspire reflection – remembering how things were “then,” reminiscing about all that has happened since, and embracing how things are now.

Sunday I reconnected with friends I hadn’t seen in 30 years. I was the choreographer for the 1983 Sea Gals squad and the Seahawks recognized the 1983 Seahawks and Sea Gals during halftime at yesterday’s game.

Some things never change. The gals looked the same. They acted the same. They moved the same. I guess we are who we are despite the passage of time.

Even though three decades have elapsed since we cheered for the Hawks, as we walked around the field rallying with the 12th Man, it seemed like yesterday. The fans cheered, took pictures, shared kind words. It was heartwarming. It was like yesterday.

I’m so grateful for the reunion. I loved rekindling lost friendships, sharing joy with others who share a similar bond, and feeling at peace with myself and my life.

Yesterday was beautiful. And I slept great last night. Bring on tomorrow….GO HAWKS!

Personal Branding

SheriLeonardKOMO4BiteOfSeattleI just read a blog that discussed personal branding and it prompted me to ask myself, “What is my personal brand?”

After some reflection, I decided my brand is “Positively Professional.”

I was born with a positive disposition and a drive to be the best I can be. I didn’t develop these traits; they simply are part of who I am.

And trust me, being a perfectionist has its drawbacks — just ask my kids about my level of expectations.

But, being positively professional defines me!

I take pride in my work and in my relationships and I never want to let myself or anyone else down. Ever.

I love to work on projects — learning the objectives, creating a plan to meet those objectives, implementing the plan (making sure to enjoy the process), and reaching an end result that surpasses expectations.

I like to work on fast-paced, high-performing teams consisting of fun, smart and creative people with high integrity — collaborating and brainstorming to take projects from good to great.

I like to improve inefficiencies. I like to meet new people, build relationships and promote a positive culture. I like to bring joy to my little slice of the world. I like to make life better wherever I am.

I am positively professional. It’s in my DNA. And it’s my personal brand!

What is YOUR personal brand?

Puppy Love

IMG_1809 EditThere’s nothing like the love and joy a dog brings into your life. Does anyone else run sprints and circles when you walk through the door? I didn’t think so.

Angel, my daughter’s dog that I seem to be the caretaker of, wants nothing more in life than to be with me, go for walks, and devour treats. Her life plan is simple: provide unconditional love to her master. Wow. Lucky me!

Of course, caring for a dog can sometimes be inconvenient and unpleasant. Doggy do-dos, doggy hair accenting every outfit, limited time on outings because you need to let your dog out, etc.

But, all-in-all, there’s nothing like puppy love to make your day brighter. Thank you, Angel, for bringing joy into my life!

Happiness

Hawaiian Sunset

Beautiful photo courtesy of Karen Warner.

How do you “find” happiness?

You don’t “find” it, folks, you create it. The key is to realize what brings you joy and inspires your passion…and what doesn’t! Then, do more of the good and ditch the bad!

This soul-searching may take some time, but it is time well-spent. Once you figure it out and start bringing those things that bring you joy into your life, you’ll start loving life more than ever.

We all have gifts and talents, and we need to put them to good use. Think about the five “W’s” – Who, What, Where, When and Why:

WHO do you enjoy being around; who inspires you to be your best; who makes you smile? Whose life can you make better by helping them in some way?

WHAT activities, hobbies, or work are you passionate about? What work do you enjoy so much you’d do it for free? What do people tell you you’re good at? What are you excited to learn more about? What can you do to make the world a better place?

WHERE are you when you feel at peace? Are you at the top of a mountain or on a Hawaiian beach? (Both work for me!) Are you in a luxurious hotel or a rustic cabin? Are you energized in a warm, sunny climate or in a cooler climate?

WHEN are you the most productive? When can you fit joyful activities into your life? When do you prefer to sleep, work, play? Try to mold your schedule around your preferences.

WHY are you trying to live the way other people think you should live (or how you think others want you to live)? Why not start making yourself happier NOW? Why not start doing one thing every day that makes you happy?

I loved an article I read today by Joshua Fields Millburn and Ryan Nocodemus. In it they said, “Happiness, as far as we’re concerned, is achieved through living a meaningful life—a life that is filled with passion and freedom, a life in which we grow as individuals and contribute to other people in meaningful ways. Growth and contribution—those are the bedrocks of happiness. Not stuff.

“This may not sound sexy or marketable or sellable, but it’s the cold truth. As humans, we’re happy if we’re growing as individuals and contributing beyond ourselves.

“Without growth, and without a deliberate effort to help others, we are simply slaves to cultural expectations, ensnared by the trappings of money and power and status and perceived success.”

(Click here to read the complete article.)

The choice to be happy is yours; no one else can MAKE you happy. Best of luck to you as you create your own happiness!

Full Moon Weirdness

Full Moon CropI should just stay in bed on full-moon days and write the day off. Yesterday was a perfect example; from start to finish the day was flawed.

I had an in-person interview yesterday for a position that I am really excited about, at an organization that actually saves peoples’ lives, so I wanted the day to flow perfectly. I wanted to head into the interview in a great mood and in a positive frame of mind. Unfortunately, that wasn’t the case.

The trouble started with my morning ritual of peanut-butter-toast and tea. I made a cup of tea, placed the bread in the toaster, and then realized…oh no…we’re out of peanut butter! It’s the same feeling as pouring cereal in a bowl, topping the cereal with beautiful sliced strawberries, only to find out there’s no milk. Bummer….

But, I wasn’t about to let that little mishap dampen my day, so I smeared some jam on the toast and got dressed for my interview. I chose to wear black slacks and a new blazer, but as I headed out the door my daughter shrieked, “Mom! Where is your POWER SUIT?”

“Don’t you think what I am wearing is powerful enough?” I asked.

“NO!” she replied.

So into my closet I dashed and I quickly changed into my “power suit.”

“Much better,” she said. “Doesn’t that feel better?”

“Well actually, no, it doesn’t,” I said.  “It actually FEELS very tight!”

“How did that happen?” I pondered.

But at that point, I was out of time, and I couldn’t change my clothes again.

Sitting in my car I checked my iPhone for the company address and gasped. The email message stated, “Please arrive 10 minutes early for your appointment to complete some paperwork.” Oh great! If I hadn’t had a wardrobe malfunction arriving early wouldn’t have been a problem, but now I’m just hoping to get there on time.

Cruising along the highway I seemed to be making good time and I felt relieved that I was going to get there 10 minutes early. Then I heard, “Pop!” The car ahead of me kicked up a rock that punched a half-inch chip in my windshield. (You need to understand that my car is pretty special to me because I picked it up in Munich one year ago and I was telling someone the day before how happy I was that it was still in perfect condition.) Guess I spoke too soon.

Thankfully, I arrived at my interview 15 minutes early and I confidently entered the office knowing that my skill set was a very good match for the job. The interview went well…until the end. There was just something about the way she said, “You’ll hear from us in a couple of weeks,” that left me disappointed. Somehow I perceived that I was not going to be one of the two finalists selected for the final panel interview. I hope my gut instinct is wrong, but I left the interview deflated.

I didn’t need to be down for long, though, because I was meeting a former colleague for Happy Hour at 5:15pm. I rushed home, changed my clothes, and arrived at the restaurant five minutes early. Then I waited….and waited….and waited…and by 5:30pm my friend still hadn’t arrived. I ordered some wine and a couple of hors d’oeuvres…thinking she’d arrive any minute. (It wasn’t like her to be late.) Then, at 5:45pm I sent her a text and she replied, “I’m at the UW. I can’t make it tonight. I had it on my calendar for tomorrow night. I feel awful!” So there I was, sitting in a bar alone with drinks and hors d’oeuvres for two, feeling like I had a flashing-red beacon on my head saying, “I’m so embarrassed! I really was supposed to meet someone here tonight. Anyone care to join me?”

So I drove home and decided to lay low the rest of the night. I told my daughter, “Geez, what a day. It must have been a full moon or something.”

“It was a full moon!” she said.

Hmmm…Surprise, surprise.

My former colleague and I met tonight and after telling her about my weird day yesterday she said, “You might say you got mooned by the full moon yesterday.”

Indeed I did. And there are 29 days until the next one.