Newsletter & Blog

Healthy Cost Savers in the Work Place

Laura Novakowski  -  Jan 25, 2011  -  Comments Off on Healthy Cost Savers in the Work Place

The cost of disease in the work place is becoming catastrophic. Currently, it is estimated that the cost of medical services is seven times the national inflation rate. With all the other competing costs that businesses incur, believe it or not, health care is probably the most costly and also the least addressed.

To build the case for focusing on health as a cost saving measure, let’s start with some definitions of disease.

According to

Disease is…

  1. “an abnormal condition of the body or mind that causes discomfort or dysfunction”
  2. “Lack of a feeling of ease; uneasiness”

According to

Disease is…

  • Malfunctioning of the body or any part of the body resulting from any number of influences, including genetic errors, toxins, infections, nutritional deficiencies, and environmental factors.

According to

Disease is…

  • “an alteration of a living body that impairs its functioning”

According to

Disease is…

  • “stress condition produced by the effects of a pathogen on a susceptible host”

Yes, disease is often caused by tangible factors. Overeating, smoking, lack of exercise are the obvious causal factors. The bad news is, the intangibles are the factors that are really causing health care costs to rise. The intangibles such as feelings of helplessness, hopelessness and loss of personal value and worth are much so more costly because of the insidious impacts in all aspects of life and work.

The focus to decrease health care costs must shift from disease management to health management. Wellness programs are a great start. However, to really make a substantial impact, we as business and community leaders will need to focus on totally different frontiers. Frontiers such as Emotional Intelligence (EQ), Conflict Resolution, Leadership, Resilience and other so called “soft skills” are shown to have substantial impact on the bottom line. When companies focus on these new frontiers, there is a much more sustainable health impact on not just the benefit dollars expended but also the productivity costs that are flowing out the door.

The Power of Attitudes

Laura Novakowski  -  Jan 20, 2011  -  Comments Off on The Power of Attitudes
I’ve learned over the years these startling statistics about attitudes.
  • The average person generates between 25,000 to 50,000 thoughts per day
  • Over 80% of a person’s thoughts in a day are negative
  • It takes an average of 4 hours to recover from a negative thought or experience
  • It takes 5 positive thoughts or experiences to recover from one negative
  • Conservatively, a negative attitude costs a company 30% in productivity

These are just a few statistics, there are many more about the effects of negative attitudes

This Charles Swindoll poem is a great reminder to me about the power of our attitude…


“The longer I live, the more I realize the impact of attitude on life.
Attitude, to me, is more important than facts.
It is more impor1ant than the past, than education, than money, than circumstances, than failures, than success, than what other people think or say or do.
It is more important than appearance, giftedness or skill.
It will make or break a company… a church…a home.
The remarkable thing is we have a choice everyday regarding the attitude we will embrace for that day.
We cannot change our past … we cannot change the fact that people will act in a certain way.
We cannot change the inevitable.
The only thing we can do is play on the one string we have, and that is our attitude …
I am convinced that life is 10% what happens to me and 90% how I react to it.
And so it is with you…

Any thoughts or statistics to add? I would love to hear from you.

January 2011 Power Choices Newsletter

Laura Novakowski  -  Jan 11, 2011  -   -  Comments Off on January 2011 Power Choices Newsletter

Download the January 2011 Power Choices Newsletter

The Power of Reasoning

Laura Novakowski  -  Jan 11, 2011  -  Comments Off on The Power of Reasoning
Cogito ergo sum
“I think therefore I am”

Thinking is the number one way to success. In this day of speed and quick response, we are starting to circumvent “thinking through” our ideas, plans, conversations… Often, we launch into a relationship, a project, a job, a life, rather than engaging thoughtful consideration and then we have to live with the consequences.

Researchers at Georgia Tech categorize thinking into reasoning and problem solving.

I’d like to discuss reasoning today and save problem solving for another time. Reason is comprised of three ways that people draw conclusions – deductive, inductive or abductive.

Deductive reasoning – using a logical sequence process, from cause to effect. (This can be faulty if the “logic” is based on shaky or erroneous information).

Inductive reasoning – using general information to draw a conclusion about a situation because we don’t have all the relevant facts. (Going with our gut instincts can be very useful)

Abductive reasoning – evaluating the fact and action(s) that followed (this may be problematic because the fact or information may have been wrong in the first place)

The more we evaluate our methods of reasoning the more effective our thoughts become. Some questions we might ask to ensure that we tap into the power of reasoning are:

How logical are our conclusions?

From our past experience, what general information can be applied to this situation?

How accurate are the facts in this situation?

When we take the time to think about how we reason through a decision we have made, we generally come up with better, if not optimal decisions. This saves up time, money, relationship and ultimately leads to lasting personal and professional success.

“Those who have finished by making others think with them have usually been those who began by daring to think for themselves.”

The Job Doesn’t Make Us, We Make the Job

Laura Novakowski  -  Jan 07, 2011  -  Comments Off on The Job Doesn’t Make Us, We Make the Job

I see this all too often, people are hired for skills and abilities, they are fired for their bad attitude. In this day and age, we can’t even settle for indifference in a job – we must come to work fired up and ready to take on the job we signed up for. Starting a job, people come to interviews and the first few days of work with, as my mother would say, company manners, full of ideals, ideas and interest. Then over the course of time, for some shorter than others, interest and motivations are lost.

I recently heard a story about a young man who wanted to produce movies. From a small child, he told everyone that he would be a producer. He went to college and studied film making, graduated and got a job with one of the major networks. Today, he is one of the mail room staff, he starts at 4:30 AM and delivers mail. At first, his parents were very upset, after all he was a college graduate and now he was delivering packages for a living. However, the parents visited him on a work day. The young enthusiast bounded through his work with a light step and an eager hand. People knew him by name, they even sought him out. They commented to his parents how valuable he was and that he made their job and their life so much easier. After that day, the parent introduced their son to everyone a person who was helping to make movies.

I took away from this simple story some profound tips.

  1. Know you passion.
  2. Set goals
  3. Appreciate that there is work involved and enjoy it.
  4. Act as if you are a contribution and that any task is valuable.
  5. Be pleasant, polite and yes eager.
  6. Get feedback.
  7. Let others know that your work is important.

Time and time again, we get tired of the job because we forget our purpose. Keep focused on your purpose and whether you are carrying packages from the basement or the board room, your job will have meaning and success.

Growth Optimizers

Laura Novakowski  -  Jan 06, 2011  -  Comments Off on Growth Optimizers

To optimize growth can be a painful process. Thinking and feeling comfort and ease are great safety nets, but growth, never, never occurs when we stay too comfortable – we might as well be in a cemetery – it’s safe but our life is over. Below, you will read some quotes by great growth optimizers…

“You can’t dream your self into a character,
you must hammer and forge yourself one.”
Henry David Thoreau

“Circumstances don’t make a person,
they reveal him.”
James Allen

“The fact is, that to do anything in the world worth doing,
we must not stand back shivering and thinking of the cold and danger,
but jump in and scramble through as well as we can.”
Robert Cushing

“A wise man will make more opportunities than he finds.”
Francis Bacon

“Don’t wait until everything is just right. It will never be perfect. There will always be challenges, obstacles and less than perfect conditions. So what. Get started now. With each step you take, you will grow stronger and stronger, more and more skilled, more and more self confident and more and more successful.”
Mark Victor Hansen

“He who moves not forward, goes backward.”
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Finally, I life to add one of my own-

“Seek potential,
go beyond purpose to achievement
and life will be magical!”

Laura Reider Novakowski

A Life Global Positioning System (GPS)

Laura Novakowski  -  Jan 05, 2011  -  Comments Off on A Life Global Positioning System (GPS)

Achieving visions and goals takes some degree of planning. A plan simply defined is “a process or method of acting, doing, proceeding, making“; an even simpler definition is “a map.” Creating a plan involves dreaming, defining, directing and diverting. What tools do we have available to us to ensure that we arrive at our desired destination.

The marvelous Global Positioning System(GPS) comes to mind. With a GPS, one is able to connect to the target because certain coordinates have been plugged in and the time is recorded. When using the physical GPS, there a many options below are a few

  • a map
  • distance
  • real time traffic
  • detours
  • arrows
  • a voice, (my person favorite even when the street names not distinguishable but the person makes a valiant attempt with the interpretation)

having this tool for travel and vacation is marvelous, however, what if we developed our own a GPS for life?

  • A map – a plan that lays out the results we are seeking a career path, a project, any goal or objective that with a little strategic thinking and tools for implementation would make all the difference in the world.
  • Distance – how long or how far do we have to go to achieve
  • Real time traffic – those issues are in front of us every day are we are now prepared to deal with
  • Detours – Contingency plans for the unforeseen circumstances that come up along the way
  • Arrows- the tools that take us right or left, over, under, around or through what ever obstacles are standing in the way
  • A voice – the resources, mentors, self talk that can guide us, counsel us and listen when we get stalled or breakdown.

An electronic GPS saves time and generates peace of mind. With thoughtful planning, a life GPS is adds even more value. Having a plan, anticipating how long it will take, identifying what are the knows and unknows that show up, using visual to help us stay the path and to ultimately have the support and guidance to help us when the going gets tough – that’s a Life Global Positioning System. Today, let’s start developing our own GPS and see if our journey and work aren’t so much better.

The Power of NEW

Laura Novakowski  -  Jan 04, 2011  -  Comments Off on The Power of NEW

Why do we wait for the New Year for something NEW to take on significance? For me, there is a particular significance to NEW. describes the word new as

“Having existed, or having been made, but a short time; having originated, discovered or occurred lately; having recently come into existence, or into one’s possession; not early or long in being; of late origin; recent; fresh; modern; — opposed to old, as, a new coat; a new house; a new book; a new fashion.

If change our point of view, the Power of New happens everywhere. A clock ticks and a minute is born – that presents a new opportunity to start again. A plan fails – that presents the option to find new approaches. A relationship is struggling – that gives people the chance to start anew, restore or move on.

All too frequently I hear in conversations, I am sure I have even said it myself. This is stale, stagnant or boring, when in reality, it has been the perception, not the reality. Let’s try for today to take on the Power of New.

One might ask, “How do we take on the Power of New.

Here on some suggestions:

  • Rise early and enjoy a new sunrise – if it’s cloudy, know that there is a sunrise somewhere in the world starting a new day.
  • Review your job and compare to your job description – I’ll bet you will find at least one new significant role that you have taken on that can be added (don’t just lump it in the “other” line – make it a distinctly new addition).
  • Discover a new route to work – I’ve had struggling business owners tell me that when they have taken a new route they often are led to a solution to one of their problems.
  • Change your approach – even the most repetitious tasks have some element of the new in them – you can change what you are wearing, the hand that you write with, the tools that you use. No one else has to know and you will be surprised how different one thinks when something new is added.
  • Ask someone you know, what is new in their lives. If they say nothing, ask them if they have met anyone new, read any new books, learned any interesting new facts. It’s amazing how people open up.

These are just a few tips to help you discover the Power of New.

3 Simple Strategies for Positive Outcomes in 2011

Laura Novakowski  -  Jan 03, 2011  -  Comments Off on 3 Simple Strategies for Positive Outcomes in 2011

It’s Monday, the first of 52 Mondays in 2011. Let’s consider creating a strategy that will tip the scales for not just a successful day, but a successful week and then a subsequent successful year. Part of me wanted to stay in bed and start later and then I realized that the way I start the day, the week, the year not just can but will set the stage for 2011.

Then I decided to ask myself, “What results to do I want for 2011?”

Powerful Physical Health – our bodies are the only vehicle that we have that will transport us through our work and life. Granted we may have some limitations that challenge us and yet we have a responsibility to feed nutritiously and exercise prodigiously to ensure amazing results. When we fail to respect our physical body, the machine will fail. I once heard someone say,If you don’t actively focus on being healthy, you will be forced to focus on disease. It’s always your choice.” If we want to create more powerful physical health, we need to focus, set specific goals and become more disciplined. Traits that I would like to have attributed to me.

Exciting Mental Growth – Forest Long of the ad agency Young and Rubicam coined the phrase, “the mind is a terrible thing to waste.” We are never too old to learn. Finding ways to stimulate and interest the mind are personal and highly individualized for each of us. I am determined to create a strategy that includes excitement and adventure to my year for mental growth. I will NOT waste my mind.

Committed Positive Values and EthicsAlbert Schweitzer once wrote, “Ethics is the activity of man directed to secure the inner perfection of his own personality.” At the end of the year, I certainly will not be Schweitzer, however I would like it to be said of me that, “Laura is a person that is committed to justice, compassion and human dignity.

These strategies may sound simple, and yet I know, it’s going to take discipline, a positive mental attitude and courage. I am dedicated to give these 3 simple strategies a try. What about your?

May your New Year be Happy and Prosperous.

Have A Happy and Prosperous New Year

Laura Novakowski  -  Dec 30, 2010  -  Comments Off on Have A Happy and Prosperous New Year

12 Gifts to Self in 2011

  1. Set the stage health
  2. Enjoy sunrises and sunsets
  3. Go for walks in nature
  4. Read a novel (or two)
  5. Do something extra at work and tell no one about it
  6. Try something new
  7. Spend an hour or a day in silence
  8. Create a development plan and goals that support growth and development
  9. Be open to finding my talents
  10. Be kinder to self
  11. Hold myself accountable for what I control and let go of all that I don’t
  12. List 12 things that I am grateful for and send it to myself as a thank you note

What gifts will you give yourself this year?

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