resilience

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?”

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?

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.

 

Define Success and Build Foundations

Laura Novakowski  -  Sep 12, 2012  -  , , , , , , , , ,  -  No Comments

There’s a quote often attributed to Alice in Wonderland that goes like this “If you don’t know where you’re going, any road will get you there.”

By defining our success, we at least have a fighting chance of achieving what we really want. Success is unique and special for each of us. Some of us choose tangible success – a gold medal, a degree, a prize, a certain life style and income. Others seek achievement in spite of physical, mental or developmental limitations. Still others seek leaving a legacy such as a breakthrough cure, exploring new horizons, or creating an innovative product or service.

This is not about judging our motivators, Rather, defining success is about clarifying what is really important to each of us. By asking ourselves questions such as…

What lights me up in the morning, or causes me to lose sleep at night?

What provokes me to take outrageous risks and throw in all the chips?

When we start asking ourselves these motivating questions, we become inspired to live a life that is extraordinarily fulfilling. To define success we must discover what “trips our trigger.” Not just forces us, but compels us to take life changing actions.

Henry David Thoreau once wrote

“I learned this, at least, by my experiment: that if one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavours to live the life which he has imagined, he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours. He will put some things behind, will pass an invisible boundary; new, universal, and more liberal laws will begin to establish themselves around and within him; or the old laws be expanded, and interpreted in his favour in a more liberal sense, and he will live with the license of a higher order of beings. In proportion as he simplifies his life, the laws of the universe will appear less complex, and solitude will not be solitude, nor poverty poverty, nor weakness weakness. If you have built castles in the air, your work need not be lost; that is where they should be. Now put the foundations under them.”

When we define success, we can move confidently in the direction of our dreams and live each day putting foundations under those castles we build in the air.

Bearings, Key and Alternator

Laura Novakowski  -  Sep 04, 2012  -  , , , , , , , ,  -  No Comments

Paying attention to the signs and messages that show up in life and business can save tons of time, money, and energy. To follow is a story of a team of four that each experienced car issues. Upon reviewing, the team could each see the corollaries to the challenges that they were facing in life and work.

It started with the newest and youngest member of the team having a “bearings” problem. Now, the definition of bearings is “the direction or path along which something moves or along which it lies .” Guess what? The bearings had to be changed. This young team member was unclear as to the  people choose a path that best path to choose.  In fact, had recently been on a path that was draining and destructive.  Feelings of frustration, lack of motivation, being overwhelmed and certainly tremendous dissatisfaction with self and others was ever present. When reviewing their current situation, this newest member spent time evaluating their current direction and eliminated one time consuming job that was taking them completely off course. This change affected their thoughts and actions immediately enhancing the quality of their work and life.

The most senior member of the team had a key problem. It just would turn in the ignition. Now, the definition of key is “something crucial or central to the issue or problem.” The key had to be repaired. This person at the same time started to experience some heart problems. The key, like the heart, is core to our performance and success. This team player had lost some of their purpose due to a major personal life change and was starting to act as if they were no longer needed. This couldn’t have been further than the truth. Fortunately, the team pulled together to help this senior member see that they were absolutely essential to their success. As a team, they focused on validating purpose and contributions of each team player. Immediately, the sage of the group started to make some respectful health changes in diet and exercise that actually helped them to be relieved of some very distressing symptoms.

The last two team members experienced an alternator problem. Now, one definition of the alternator is to “charge the battery and to power an electric system when its engine is running. …” A battery is a source of power for any engine and needs constant charging. How interesting that their alternators needed to be replaced. With the charge there was no power. The charger and the source, also two critical team players had been trying to pick up and take over rather than serve as support. They too had to pull back and go on a retreat, a vacation, so that they could recharge and re-gain power.

Fortunately, the team paid attention to the “car problems” before their life problems became too serious. They regained their bearings, found the key to their purpose and recharged their power in work and life.

 

Start, Stop or Continue

Laura Novakowski  -  Aug 13, 2012  -  , , , , , , ,  -  No Comments

Nobody can go back and start a new beginning, but anyone can start today and make a new ending. ~Maria Robinson~

 

 “Stop the habit of wishful thinking and start the habit of thoughtful wishes.” ~ Mary Martin~

 

“Whatever the struggle, continue the climb. It may be only one step to the summit.” ~Diane Westlake~

Make This a Refresh Your Business Day

Laura Novakowski  -  Jul 18, 2012  -  , , , , , , , , , , ,  -  No Comments

Business is organic and dynamic. Always changing, shifting and moving. Two quarters have past and half  of 2012 is gone and no matter how spectacular or dismal the year has been now is the time to rejuvenate.  Why bother you ask? Well, take it from a reformed workaholic, I am more effective, productive and valuable when I take a day to refresh instead of staying buried under piles of work. Believe me, the work will still be there tomorrow.

I’d like to make 7 suggestions to refresh, renew and revitalize your business. To let go of the weightiness of what is sometimes overwhelming work and that feeling of always pushing up hill.

  1. Clear your calendar.  The competition will keep nipping at our heels. The economy will continue to fluctuate. Clients will lose interest. Partners will depart. Time continues and flies by.  The fact is, we cannot control our competitors, the economy, partners, or clients. Nor can we control time – the clock will continue to tick, the sun will rise and set. Work and life goes on and we have totally missed the joy of it all.  Treat yourself to whatever gives you new energy and new ideas just for one day.
  2. Go on an adventure.All to often, we slog through work just to get it done.  Slogging doesn’t really generate quality work. It’s rote and dull, leaving us and everyone around us less than inspired too.   You don’t have to leave town.  It’s amazing how much there is to discover in your  community if you just decide to explore.  Markets, art galleries, corner pubs, parks abound. It’s amazing to Learn the local culture,  art and resources right in your own back yard.
  3. Visit a play ground. Kids are wonderful to watch. Find a bench and enjoy the laughter and screams of joy.    Children are so limitless and courageous.  Just watching them communicate, interact, compete and share is so much fun.  They don’t worry about dirt,  heat,  or even time. They are so in the moment.  They don’t concern themselves with the next deal,  the next crisis, the next challenge. They are just in the moment. Better yet, join in if you can.
  4. Take a walk in nature.  Trees and flowers abound this time of year.  Notice the vibrant colors.  Appreciate how plants and scrubs reside in close proximity. If you can find a stream, lake or the beach that’s terrific too. All the tides of the ocean to put you back into the rhythm of life.  There is no competition or fighting and  beauty abounds.
  5. Play music.  Rock and roll. opera, rap, country, jazz. Play it loud or soft. Allow the music to wash over you. Turn off phones and move away from computers, unless they are your source of music.  I find that music works great to help me refocus and recharge. Keeping ipods and cd’s handy are great energizers even for short breaks and car trips.
  6. Listen to audio books.If you normally listen to audio books for work or self improvement. Put them away.  Pick up a mystery, murder, sci fi, romance, comedy, historical fiction. Books are wonderful detractors,  taking you places that you might have only dreamed about.  I always travel with audio books, the trip is amazing and provides a brief respite from business conversations.  Safer too.
  7. Plant a garden. At the very least visit a nursery, green house or market and pick out one plant.  Notice their leaves, flowers, scents and textures.  Plants are so great and once you carry one back to your office or company, they will become a friend for life. They filter our air, love us unconditionally and only ask for water and gentle handling. And, they serve as a great reminder for the time you took for yourself – that break so needed – that one cannot help but smile.

Seven suggestions, low cost, huge value. You are so worth the time you invest in a refreshing your business day. For those who might struggle with full days, consider starting with an hour, that’s what I do and it makes all the difference in the value that I can add to my work and my life. Enjoy and be refreshed!

 

 

Attitude – Leads to a Field of Dreams

Laura Novakowski  -  Jun 27, 2012  -  , , , , , , , , , , , ,  -  No Comments

In the movie Field of Dreams, Kevin Cosner heard a voice whisper – “If you build it, they will come.”

More than a decade ago I was sitting in one of our numerous corporate meetings rehashing cutbacks, shrinking reimbursement and quality challenges and my mind started to wander.  “Why does every meeting have to be this way?” heart and soul seem to be shouting.  Suddenly, I heard a voice  whisper – build CASTLES – “Create Attitudes and Strategies Tapping Limitless Energy for Success.” 

Grabbing a napkin on the table in front of me – I scribbled these words down and passed it over to a colleague and dear friend.  She smiled indulgently and asked “So?” I answered without hesitation, “This is the focus on my company.”

Leaving the meeting, I gathered up reports, notes and my napkin.  Back in the office, I filled and tossed papers, somehow the napkin made it into my top drawer.  Moving up in the organization, I now was much more focused on working with building attitudes for success.  Sometimes it happened, sometimes it didn’t.  A great organization just not the place for me.

Several years and countless meetings later, I left that organization and opened my own business.  My vision and  focus were on creating those attitudes and strategies tapping limitless energy for success.  I just wanted to build CASTLES.

Fortunately, I have been blessed with a family and friends that supported positive thinking.  The Power of Positive Thinking by Norman Vincent Peale has been one of the mainstays of my library.  My company’s name – Positive Power Strategies, Inc. is a constant affirmation of using a positive mental attitude.

The secret for me is in the belief that every person, every business, every community is an opportunity to build CASTLES.  With each client and company that I am engaged, I have the opportunity to discover wonderful creativity and opportunities that can be tapped leading to limitless energy and success. Together we discover tools and techniques that translate into action and extraordinary results.  I have the honor and privilege to share obstacles and opportunities, dreams and goals with so many people.  People whom given the time, tools and assistance with clarifying their vision and discovering their talents have the capacity to build their own amazing CASTLES.

My secret is an attitude that I am  building it and they will come.

Where is your field of dreams?  What would you like to build so that they will come?

Networking

Laura Novakowski  -  Jun 21, 2012  -  , , , , , , , , , ,  -  No Comments

In an ever changing world, time, money, resources to knowledge are at a premium.  Learning how to build a powerful network is essential to overcome challenges and obstacles or capitalize on opportunities for you to succeed.

Networking is first and foremost about building relationships. Whether we are in a nine-to-five job, an entrepreneur or student – healthy, strong relationships become essential to achieve our dreams and accomplish our goals.

In the book Leadership and Self Deception published by the Arbinger Institute, there was a story about a new lawyer who was assigned to a huge project with a large team.  Life events caused him to him to disrupt his life and move.  When he arrived to work with the new project, most of the team was located on the 25th floor. He, however arriving later, was located on the 21st floor.  Feeling a little put out, he moved into his office and decided to dig in.  If he worked really hard someone was sure to notice. The project moved along. He missed lunches with the team because he didn’t travel to the 25th floor (free lunches were provided for the team daily and there was a team understanding that everyone was invited). Changes were made in the project, but because this young lawyer was isolated (mostly self imposed),  he didn’t incorporate changes, causing him to look ill prepared and his reports to be substandard. Another time, he was “chewed out” for being hard to find, although he was in his office working.   If he would have taken the time network internally, he would have avoided a lot of grief and anguish.

A young woman moved far from home. She wanted to learn a new industry and put her talents to good use. She had identified where she wanted to live and she moved. Jobs were limited. Her temporary job was over, but she decided to stay rather than move back home.  She worked six part time jobs, one of them in a restaurant.  One evening she was talking to one of the customers who shared with her that his company was looking to fill a new position. The more he talked, the more he described a person with her exact qualifications. When he asked, “Do you know anyone?”  Her response, “That sounds like me.” Within weeks she was interviewed at the corporate office and was hired for the job.  She “networked” her way into her “dream job.”

Relationships are imperative to our success. Limiting our contacts and our experiences greatly hampers our growth. Conversely, putting ourselves out there greatly influences our ability to capitalize on our talents and potential and get what we really, really want out of life. Networking is one key to opening many doors.  Network!

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