My Mt. Everest | May 2008 Newsletter

My Mount Everest: May, 2008
Merle M. Singer, Founder


MyMtEveresters,

Okay, already. Here I am. You, my dear readership, have made it crystal clear to me that you want more My Mt Everest editions. So you’ve got me here kicking and screaming.

It’s not that I don’t want to write; or maybe it’s that I don’t want to write. I say it’s just that the things on my mind are more personal than I care to share – even I have my limits.

Then I say, I can’t figure out what to do with this site and e-letter. Do I want to turn it into something that I can make money with, or do I just want to do this for the pleasure? If I just do it for pleasure, is that a waste of my time, or an indulgence, or a significant expression of something or other? See you thought I was having a great time, which I am. But I’m not quite angst-free.

When You Can’t Seem to Figure Out What to Do, Do ANYTHING To Get Yourself Started.

So I had lunch with my goddaughter and explained all these things and she looked at me with that look. You know; the “you’re so full of it” look. Dang! Getting ‘dissed’ by your goddaughter. So, after telling her to shut up (let’s face it, I can get pretty rude when you push me too far), we laughed a bit, I told her to shut up again, we laughed some more, and then I caved like a tortured prisoner and said that I’d write something by Sunday, my birthday.

Well, I did write something, just not a complete something.

You May Not Know the Impact You Have…

Actually what she and my daughter and a few friends/family said was that doing this sometimes gut-wrenching (I do have a flair for the dramatic) mind-purging gave them vicarious pleasure from things they would never do or say out-loud (or to themselves), and the courage to do the things in their world that is a stretch for them.

Wow, that’s humbling. My being an example for others is still a fuzzy picture. ‘Cause, of course, I see myself flailing through my life – albeit with great humor.

And yet on many occasions, various people have said that they admire me, for this and/or that. I used to just stare at such people – what were they talking about? But someone pointed out to me that it’s rude and insulting to contradict someone who is complimenting you; it’s like insulting their judgment. So now, I just say “Thank you.”

We All Have Our "Negative" Self-Judgments and Doubts

But while you’re all having your thoughts about me, here are my thoughts about me:

I think that by now I should be extremely famous and extremely well accomplished in some area. Actually, I should be running for president – of the United States. No, I should already have run for president and won, and led this world (not just the country) to peace, to prosperity for all, education for all, a heightened sense of personal responsibility by all.

At least, I could have become the CEO of General Electric. Really, I should have known to take math and engineering and anticipated the computer age and founded Microsoft or Google. I have a Series 7 to sell stocks and bonds; I should have started a Hedge Fund by now – or at least understand what a Hedge Fund is.

I’m funny… Why didn’t I ever pursue a career in comedy and become Jon Stewart or Carlos Mencia?

Have you ever read “Rules for Renegades” by Christine Comaford-Lynch? I couldn’t finish the book; it made me feel so bad – by comparison. This woman, with her renegade roots stemming from being a runaway high school dropout, has defied all odds.

Why haven’t I defied all odds? Maybe I should have dropped out of high school. Instead, I went to college and got a BS and MS. What was I thinking?

But it’s Christine that is a five-time CEO/entrepreneur. She’s defined new markets, developed products to serve them, etc., etc. blah, blah, blah. She started five of her own businesses, all of which have been acquired or taken public, assisted 700 of the fortune 1000 and been and advisor to the White House. What have I advised the White House? I’d say, “President, listen to Christine.”

And what was I doing then while Christine was climbing her Mt Everest?? Who knows? I can’t remember. Was it raising kids? Was it doing educational testing? I was really great at that, but not great at writing the reports.

Was it running a pharmacy with my husband? Actually I did want to buy another pharmacy, the beginning of our own chain and empire, but…… I took extra accounting courses so I would know what I’m doing.

Maybe I was teaching while she was advising the White House, or tutoring, or teaching speed-reading at adult school. Was that when I was selling life and disability insurance, getting my Series 7 to sell stocks and mutual funds? Who knows? I sure wasn’t starting five of my own businesses.

Which leads to my eternal question: If you’ve done it, and I haven’t; why haven’t I?

Why aren’t I the first 5’2” (and shrinking) basketball player for the Sparks? Okay, so I’m going overboard. I’m being absurd, but I’m absurd in my head. I think a lot of us are.

So We’ve Got to Remind Our Self of Our Own Magnificence

Fortunately for me, I recognize my own absurdity, I accept it, but I still haven’t shaken it all off.

Look, I spent over ten years in the community of Hollywood making it ready to don its current popularity and funky elegance. Check out www.YCCHollywood.org. Click “Staff.” That will at least give you a clue.

I’ve got to stand up to my “never-satisfied” self. I’ve got awards. I was a Woman of Distinction in 1998. I’m not chopped liver. Hey, I apologize to the people who haven’t heard the expression, “What am I, chopped liver?!” The answer is “No!”

And for me (and for you, too), the time grows shorter; another birthday arrives. Of course, I love my birthday. I am so completely happy that I have a birth day each year – it’s one of my most excellent habits, it’s very addicting. It definitely beats non-existence (though, how can I know that?).

I have a wonderful life. I have wonderful people in my life.

But "Positive Thinking" Alone Won’t "Make It All Go Away

Okay, so all that stuff is great, but who gets a Nobel Prize for motherhood (or anything that I’m good at – whatever that may be)?

I tell you this, because it is dawning on me (with your help) that I sometimes express some of the things that you also may be feeling. Sometimes you don’t even realize it until you read it somewhere, i.e. here.

I actually am coming to terms with my angst; it’s a process. My constant searching is my way of ignoring my accomplishments and therefore preventing my building on my successes. I’ve been trying to hide my light under a bushel (and doing a fine job) ever since my mother told me not to win at ping-pong when playing with a boy or he wouldn’t like me. Trust me; she was serious – and not as sexist as all of the other mothers at that time.

So how many Mt Everests have I already climbed and eschewed credit so as not to invoke the wrath of the world (represented by that single, imaginary boy)? Am I not the head of General Electric because that would be an ineffective public image, because then the boys wouldn’t like me?

You know, it all sounds so bizarre to me. But, I happen to know that we people are capable of some pretty bizarre self-judgments. If I’m not evolved enough to surpass those ridiculous self-judgments, I’m at least far enough along to not take my self-judgments so seriously.

I’ve learned to respect the thoughts, descriptions, and judgments of my friends and colleagues. That’s an improvement for me. I remember smugly thinking what an idiot someone was when s/he said something flattering about me. They clearly had no idea what was inside and how flawed I was. Now isn’t that something to be smug about! I was taught to be smug – not a productive characteristic. I think I’ve pretty much conquered that one.

More Than Turning Your Attitude Around, You’ve Got to Take Action That Brings About "Positive" Change

So what takes this all out of the whining arena?

The answer is to take action. The real question is: What is the action to take?

Well, I’ll tell you what homework assignment that I am giving myself. And it’s based on the fact that “What you focus on expands.”

I am going to start each day writing down two things that I’m good at, that I like about myself, that I enjoy. It doesn’t have to be the same two things and it doesn’t have to be different two things. It does have to be everyday.

And that means that if I miss a day or a week, I can’t quit, I have to get back on the horse and finish off the month writing down two things about myself that makes me feel good.

You Can Do the Same!

Do you want to join me? Of course you do!

Oh! That’s great – on one hand. On the other hand, what a hassle; now I have to be back next month, and report to you. And you can report to me about your progress.

Okay, let’s do it. See you 6/15/2008 – or there abouts.