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What is Life Expecting from Us?

Laura Novakowski  -  Apr 04, 2018  -  , , , , ,  -  2 Comments

This question continues to haunt me, “What is life expecting from us?”

To learn what life is expecting of us, we need to listen with more of our senses, we need to be fully present. When we look and feel beyond what is being said,  we can more fully understand and be present. Internally, we may feel tension, connection, ambiguity.

2018 blog_graphics_landscapeThis reminds me of a story I once heard about a woman who complained every day to her husband about her neighbor’s dirty laundry hanging on a clothesline.  This went on for days, until, one morning, she was pleasantly surprised and commented to her husband, “She finally learned how to wash clothes.”

His simple response, “I washed our windows this morning.”

Love this story.  How many times have I judged someone else for a situation that I might have created? Life expects me to be more aware of myself and others When I take the time to be present and evaluate the entire situation, I might find that I contribute to the issue or conflict. I may need more information to have a different perspective.  I need to ask, “Have I washed my own windows lately?”  “Am I the cause of disruption, conflict, or confusion?” “What am I doing that leads to misunderstanding and tension?” “Am I willing to be more present in life with myself and others?

I believe life is expecting me to be more discerning, self-reflective, less judgmental, in short more mindful and loving.

I would appreciate learning from you, dear readers. “Are you present in your life?” And if so, “What is life expecting from you?”

Life’s Expectations

Laura Novakowski  -  Mar 28, 2018  -  , ,  -  No Comments

 

“It did not really matter what we expected from life, but rather what life expected from us.”

Recently, in re-reading Viktor’s Frankl’s autobiography, A Man’s Search for Meaning, I discoMan's Search for Meaning_March_28_2018vered the above  humbling insight – that to experience life at its fullest I needed to focus on not what I would “get”, but instead, what I would “give.” This sounds simple enough, but now, older and wiser, I appreciate the deeper meaning of “What does life expect from me?” This question has caused me to do a one-eighty in my thinking and ask – “What am I really giving back to life?”

Some immediate thoughts about what life expects from me:

  • To take time to know my strengths, talents and opportunities to change and grow
  • To embrace and love myself
  • To strive every day to be the best “Me” so that my “giving” is genuine and heartfelt
  • To focus on health, not disease
  • To explore and expand universal potential
  • To leave each day better than I found it

As I ponder this question, I realize there are no quick answers.  And so, I am reaching out to all readers for suggestions to help me answer this question –    “What does life expect from us?”

Someday I’ll – (aka. –  the land of  Someday Isle)

Laura Novakowski  -  Jun 28, 2017  -  , , , , ,  -  No Comments

There is a strange place that I often go

It doesn’t take much imagination

In fact, it actually allows one to hold back on taking action on dreams and goals

 

Someday,  I’ll stop and play,

when I am not too busy

 

Someday, I’ll  slow down and enjoy the lovely swing on my back deck,

right now I have phone calls to make and bills to pay.

 

Someday, I’ll  visit a friend and spend sometime catching up,

right now I have more important things to do.

 

Someday, I’ll spend more time with my parents,

when I have nothing else to do.

 

Someday, I’ll take a walk in nature,

when it stops raining and I stop working

 

Someday, I’ll take time to get to know the clerks in the market,

right now I’m too important to get to know them.

 

Someday, I’ll volunteer to help veterans,

right now I need to read a book about leadership

 

Someday, I’ll pay attention on long drives with my husband,

right now I need to check my emails and return phone calls

 

As one can see, I have spent a great deal of time in the land of Someday I’ll,

And this is only a very short list – it certainly could go on for pages.

 

There are no excuses, many regrets and a new appreciation that

I can leave this land of Someday Isle for  today I am choosing to  join the land of The Present!

 

 

Laura Novakowski, A Positive Power Strategist

Life is like the Weather –It Changes

Laura Novakowski  -  Mar 14, 2017  -  , , , , , , , , ,  -  No Comments

weather3_14-2017Just when I thought that I had everything planned perfectly, the day changed.  The weather forecast was for snow. Well, I traveled from the North (NEPA) to DC thinking that I was leaving the weather behind me.  Surprise – surprise, it followed me here. 

The old me would have wanted to have everyone soldier through – to suck it up –to keep going no matter what. The new me says, “Yeah. Let’s take advantage of the day, the time, the location and the people.”  And so that’s what I am doing.

As an early riser, I woke well before the alarm – a little after 5AM (which is in my mind 4AM, time just changed on the East coast in the US).  In downtown DC, I normally hear trains and trucks, all the usual early morning wake up traffic. Instead, I woke to the sound of a winter mix of sleet, rain and snow.  Really a refreshing sound – the sound of nature giving people the day off. 

A call roused me from my enjoyment of nature to tell me the day was postponed and we would need to reschedule.  “What a pleasant surprise,” I thought. “Now what?”  Normally, I like to follow my plans, it makes life so much easier, so much safer. Then I realized that I could make this a special day to really visit DC.  (Fortunately, I had planned for the weather (boots, scarf, gloves, coat- not my typical style). After a hotel breakfast, I venture out on foot.

There is slush, ice, and water everywhere.  Almost no cars on the road.  In spite of wet feet (okay, not totally prepared – my boots look great, just not very water proof), I trudge a few city blocks to the Metro. The people that I passed were wonderful.  Dressed for the weather- they shoveled, swept and tossed salt on the sidewalks. Stopping respectfully for me to pass.  Everyone has a wonderful smile and kind greeting. – Whomever says, “DC is not a friendly city,” might want to reconsider and visit in the midst of a storm. 

Coffee shops were open and the welcoming attitudes continued to envelop me.  In the lobby of the Constitution Building, an employee whom had been there since the previous evening welcomed me with a smile and showed me a warm and welcoming place to sit. 

Moving on to the Metro, again I encountered warm, welcoming people. Despite delays, people were gracious and respectful with phones, seats and juggling bags – people would stop to allow someone enter the car ahead of them.

Quite a refreshing way to spend a morning in DC.  Today, I am allowing my life to enhance my work, rather than allowing my work to control my life.  Thank you Mother Nature for helping me to see the value of weather to help me improve my life and my work.

How about you? Are you willing to take the “weather” as it comes and allow yourself to go with the flow when you encounter the storms and delays?  I’d love to hear from you. 

Have an amazing day and enjoy the” weather.”

Socrates – The Triple Filter Test

Laura Novakowski  -  Nov 28, 2012  -  , , , , , , ,  -  No Comments

One of the greatest tests that I learn came from the wise philosopher Socrates – It’s called the Triple Filter Test. Socrates used 3 filters before he engaged in a conversation. This way he ensured that the conversation was meaningful. Now I’d like to review them with you. It’s also a great way to start a meeting or a conversation with yourself.

Filter number one – Truth

Is what you are about to say totally truthful?
If it is not – don’t say it!

Filter number two – Goodness

Is what you are about to say good, kind and positive?
If it is not – don’t say it!

Filter number three – Useful

Is what you are about to say necessary?
If it is not – don’t say it!

These filters from Socrates have saved me countless hours of grief and misunderstanding. We are not only in constant conversation with others but with ourselves as well. Reflecting on this Triple Filter Test even in our internal communication can save countless hours of internal grief and misunderstanding.

Was this Truthful, Good and Useful?

Charge Challenges and Change!

Laura Novakowski  -  Oct 29, 2012  -  , , , , , , , ,  -  No Comments

Already thinking a typical day is starting. Too little time, money, resources and/or the wrong resources become more and more the prevalent thought with each passing day. Energies and spirits sometimes feel like an all time low. And, often times, the “What I do doesn’t matter” attitude prevails. Turning around circumstances, situations and cultures can seem and often is a daunting task.

So what the heck we might as well go back to bed or worse yet, go into the day with little or no motivation. Off to work we go.

A memo shows up on our desks…

Looking for Volunteers –
Individuals that Will Charge Challenges and Change
Need to Bring: Mind, Heart and Soul

Already feeling different – excited, scared, overwhelmed, intimidated or perhaps a little interested? Guess what? No matter what role we play changing and charging challenges is pretty much what is required of us in work and life everyday.

The choice we have today is to be the one who changes and charges those challenges as they show up. Go for it –  Charge challenges and change!

Nurture Growth and Embrace the Results

Laura Novakowski  -  Oct 22, 2012  -  , , , , , , , , ,  -  No Comments

“Live your beliefs and
you can turn the world around.”
Henry David Thoreau

There is a parable that tells of a farmer who decided to plant a Chinese Bamboo tree, one of the most difficult trees in the world to grow. He planted the seed. For days, weeks and months, he gently and faithfully tended the seed.

At the end of year one, no tree had grown. People in his community thought he was crazy. He was tending a mound of dirt. Didn’t he know that the seed was dead. Another year passed and still he tended that mound of dirt. Another year passed and still he tended the spot where he had planted the seed. This continued for two more years, no sprouts, nothing. By the fifth year, people really believed he had lost his mind and ridiculed him.

Suddenly, three months into the fifth year the trunk of a tree shot out of the soil stretching high into the air. Five years and three months later a seemingly dormant seed grows 90 feet!

My point…

Often times, we make the choice to start taking action on a dream and plant a seed. At first, we receive a great deal of support.   People are excited for and with us. Cheering us on, they want to share in our idea, our dream our passion. Time passes and nothing has sprouted. No tree has broken the ground; people stop asking us how our idea is going. We still want and need to talk about it but we are alone.

Rain or shine, our dream still needs to nurtured and tended. Economics cause us to tighten our belt as money, resources and support become even more scarce. Once in a while there are a few believers but for the most part we are on our own.  Seasons pass and still we trudge on investing time, blood, sweat and tears.

To keep our dream alive we find new ways to nurture the soil. We repair strained relationships, cultivate new ones. We seek advice. Learn more lessons. Network more. Play and work differently. Adding different perspectives, we travel out of our comfort zone because although we are tired and bloodied, our head is unbowed.

BAM! One day, that tree bursts from the soil and stands in front of us 90 feet tall.

Just planting the seed would not have been enough. Day-in, day-out, investing talent, courage, determination and passion has to continue. Then the day comes when we can see, feel, taste and touch that 90 foot tree in front of us.

Are you willing to not just plant that seed, but to cultivate and nurture it so  that it will generate significant growth,  so that one day you too can embrace significant growth in your business,  your community,  your life?

Make SPACE

Laura Novakowski  -  Oct 15, 2012  -  , , , , , , , ,  -  No Comments

What happens with all this accumulation and there is no room left – fatigue, dissatisfaction, and disillusionment?  Life keeps getting more and more cluttered; more stuff, more information, more competition, more challenges, more, more, more…

How can we make more room in our lives for increased health, family, productivity, contributions? We can make SPACE.

Select what is important. In Wayne Dyer’s The Awakened Life, he mentioned that when we identify that we as human beings really have one business – the people business. Now I realize that that is my business,  all the other clutter that shows up really moves lower on the responsibility ladder.

Clearly identifying a purpose filled with passion can lead to great discoveries and adventures. This already takes some pressure off and to quote Thoreau – we don’t need to “live lives of quiet desperation,” as we try to own more, do more and be more.

Prioritize our goals. It’s great to have goals. It’s not so great to have copious, competing objectives goals. Come on, you know exactly what I mean. The job, the family, the interests, the wants and needs certainly can stack up and become almost too distracting. Collect all the goals in one area, make a list and establish what is really important. The rest, cross off the list or move to a “someday” list for future reference.

This is where the “selections” need to narrowed down and re-ordered so that the “NEEDS verses the WANTS list.  All too often, we overlook what we need to do and put our wants first to be done comes up to the top.

Assess the choices that affect the quality of character, relationship, work and ultimately life building  Reviewing choices is for quality not quantity.   Buying more stuff may feel great at the time. However, accumulation of stuff leads to more clutter, more stuff to move, clear and clean.

Shakespeare once wrote, “The choices we make dictate the life that we lead.”   Assessing what is controlling our lives, our wallets, our relationships, our work becomes a fabulous space saving exercise. It’s really liberating to evaluate and eliminate all that excess waste.

Collaborate with others. Connecting and building the best relationships is a life giving enterprise.  Collaboration involves being authentic with others and allowing them to be authentic with you. These relationships are build on mutual respect and appreciation.

Collaborative relationships are  “win-win” for all.   No one is doing more than is required or sacrificing time and talent. Cooperation is encouraged. Conflicts are resolved in a healthy manner and mutually agreed upon goals and objectives are met.

Enjoy life. When we know what is important because we have selected our purpose, , prioritize our goals, assess our choices and collaborate with others, we can really enjoy work and life.

Today – choose to make SPACE and see if you don’t have a more positive, enjoyable  day.

Focus – Faith – Fervor

Laura Novakowski  -  Oct 08, 2012  -  , , , , , , , , , , ,  -  No Comments

When embarking on a new endeavor or relationship, we often fail to appreciate what it will take to ensure success. In fact, quite honestly, I had not nearly often enough considered the long term effects of those quick, easy and sometimes even thoughtless decisions I have made in jobs, relationships, and life in general. Then it struck me that there are three essentials that can and will ensure the degree of our success. Focus – Faith – Fervor

Focus is the starting point

“What you choose to focus your mind on is critical because you will become what you think about most of the time…”

Noel Peebles

Finding the focus, that central theme or purpose for our actions and existence, sets the stage for a healthier, more productive and definitely more satisfied existence.

Some Focus Finding Questions:

What motivates me?

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What interests me?

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What inspires me?

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Faith is the second point.

“A small body of determined spirits fired by an unquenchable faith in their mission can alter the course of history.”

Mahatma Gandhi

Finding our faith, that unshakable belief that we have the strength, resourcefulness and talent to live and work in a manner that always, always contributes. This is the midpoint for fulfillment and satisfaction.

Some Faith Finding Questions:

How do I totally support myself in my focus?

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How do I tap into that universal source of strength that holds me unshakable to my focus?

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Who can help to restore my faith in my focus?

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Fervor is the is the third essential component.

Even the knowledge of my own fallibility cannot keep me from making mistakes. Only when I fall do I get up again.

Vincent van Gogh

Some Fervor Finding Questions:

How do I get motivated?

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How do I get back on track once derailed from my focus?

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What would ignite that candle of passion when there is no fuel left?

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It’s within our power to change lives, companies, communities and the world with focus, faith and fervor.

 

Are You Clear About What You Want?

Laura Novakowski  -  Oct 01, 2012  -  , , , , , , , , , ,  -  No Comments

One would think that when a person is asked what they really, really want in work, in life, in a relationship, that the response would be immediate. Surprisingly, or perhaps, not so surprising, the responses are: silence… or “Let me think for a minute,” or more sadly, “I really don’t take time to think about what I really want, I’m too busy doing.”

Silence or “Let me think for a minute”

These two are interesting responses. to me, they indicate that the person is stopped short for several reasons.

  1. Genuinely,they need time to give a thoughtful response because it is important to them.
  2. Actually, they am afraid to express what they really want
  3. They need to think about a response that will sound interesting and important enough to share and impress others.
  4. They don’t trust me and so are not willing to share.

This third response, “I really don’t take time to think about what I really want, I’m too busy doing,” can mean many things, but my mind jumps to the following:

  1. They are not willing or able to invest thinking time in themselves to fully appreciate what they really want.
  2. They are not used to stopping all the crazy busyness to think
  3. They don’t fully understand how import knowing what they really want is to themselves and to others involved with them.

Whatever the reasons or stories we have for not clarifying what we really want, it has become profoundly clearly to me, that this is one of our greatest limiting factors in success in business and joy in life. The more we are clear about what we want, the more likely we  are to attract that which we want, whether it be positive or negative,  into our life and work.

Please consider finishing this sentence, it might just change your life.  What I want out of life is…

Or in the words of Henry David Thoreau….will you “live your life in quiet desperation?”

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