Friday, January 28, 2011

Are You a P.O.P.?

January 2011

“Plain Ole’ People.” Three decades ago, that is what I coined for those people who have celeb-like status, who some perceive as unapproachable, and who usually live quite exciting sounding lifestyles. Yet, these “POP’s” are actually down to earth, authentic in their interaction with us, and graciously engage equally with us - human being to human being. And…they share this one commonality with us: they have extraordinary and ordinary gifts…just like us.

Dorothy Hamill is one of these POP’s: she is extraordinary on many levels yet she shares ordinary humanities and vulnerabilities just like the rest of us. While she is perhaps best known for her amazing star status on ice, she has taken extraordinary measures to showcase one aspect of the ordinariness of her life.

Earlier this month, she spoke to a 1000+ crowd on her journey through depression, and recently, breast cancer. Through most of her episodic depression, she coped with it in whispered tones, most likely following the rules of society that subliminally suggest that we not discuss “those kinds of things.” Today, she and others are graciously and humbly asking that we “out” mental illness; that we lose any stigmatization.

When friends and adoring fans learned of her recent bout with breast cancer, she shared with us that she received “everything pink.” She was showered in pinkness, yet when she had episodes with depression (where she claimed she needed encouragement), there was no support, because people “just don’t talk about it.”

So often, we are comforted, assuaged, and touched by those who make us feel “OK;” and about whom we can say: “They are just like me.” You know of POP’s – the ones whom make you feel extraordinary in our ordinary lives. In past Coach Poppy newsletters, I have written of Mickey from Publix who treats every customer as if they have just taken a pass down the red carpet. Marty Seligman and Mihaly Csikszentmihaly (“chick-sent-me-high”) positivity authors and psychologists extraordinaire, are two others whom I have had not only the pleasure of meeting, but actually with whom I have had insightful discussions. THEY are plain ole’ people – becoming immediate colleagues, rather than the world famous trailblazers that they are.

POP’s are people who have the following ingredients in the DNA of their personalities: humanity, empathy, decency, and several quarts of graciousness. They present as ordinary people who reflect back to us, the extraordinary parts of ourselves that we have overlooked.

So what can we do in our daily lives to not only identify our own extraordinary gifts and skills – for I believe we all have them, yet, also help others showcase their own set of unique talents, that they may not readily recognize? Are you a POP?

Mindfully Yours,


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