More on How to Use Innovation as a Success Strategy

In my last e-newsletter (subscribe now) and in my recent blog post, I began to explore "Innovation as a Strategy for Success." Using the four-phase Pursuit of Passionate Purpose framework, we'll continue to examine how to align passion with a meaningful purpose, then pursue it persistently, and assess progress along the way.

Using my former CIO position at the State of Colorado as a case study, I presented the first two Practical Pointers last time. Here are additional Pointers 3-6.




The most important organizational asset is People. As Jim Collins explains, "First get the right people on the bus (and the wrong people off the bus) and then figure out where to drive it. If you have the right executives on the bus, they will do everything within their power to build a great company, not because of what they will get for it, but because they simply cannot imagine settling for anything less."

At the Governor's Office of Information Technology (OIT), following the top-priority direction of Governor Polis, we worked to get the right people on the bus. Initially, I, as CIO, had eight executives reporting directly to me. After a deeper evaluation of our key challenges, I reorganized, resulting in just five Executive Staff members: the COO (Chief Operations Officer), CISO (Chief Information Security Officer), CCO (Chief Customer Officer), CSO (Chief Strategy Officer), and CTO (Chief Technology Officer). I retained, promoted from within, moved off, and hired new. We moved parts of the organization around under these leaders to improve processes and better serve our customers, who are the cabinet agencies.

A missing OIT organizational component to support an innovation culture is Marketing. Any entrepreneurial venture knows this is essential. That term does not resonate well in government, so it was named Product Management. This new group, placed in the Strategy Office, would determine what products and services we are offering and why, how we're pricing them, how we're placing them in the hands of our customers, and how we're supporting them over time.

The intersection of values and talents describes Passion. At OIT, our values together with the talents and gifts of the realigned organization became something we were passionate about.


Next step is to align your passion with a purpose.

OIT established the wildly important passionate purpose or WIPP as Customer Delight. We worked to meet and exceed customers' expectations and build customer satisfaction. This helped build credibility and trust in OIT among all stakeholders including other executive branch agencies, legislature, vendors, employees, and all Coloradans. Using the Net Promoter Score as the measure to assess progress, we increased the agencies' NPS of OIT by 13 points in six months. Amazing!

OIT and each state agency, following the Governor's Office strategic priorities, established annual WIGs or Wildly Important Goals. To give important information to all stakeholders, we issued the OIT Playbook, a strategic and operational roadmap. As a strategy to achieve these goals, we set up an Innovation Incubator that delivered 10 technological solutions to address agency challenges. For example, after quickly assessing agency needs, we implemented multiple virtual call centers to facilitate COVID-19 communications.


Then pursue the purpose with all your heart and soul persistently until you make progress. The pursuit included establishing a plan, as defined in our Playbook and WIGs, and pursuing it persistently with the right people.

I remember attending the NASCIO 2019 awards ceremony for state IT innovation. The State of Colorado did not receive one award, not even an honorable mention. I then set the goal that by the next year Colorado would win at least one. In 2020, OIT won two, thanks to a big team effort!

With the Governor's vision, support and legislative funding, we launched the Colorado Digital Service (CDS) as part of OIT. Modeled after the U.S. Digital Service, this small but mighty group is a private / public partnership of sorts that attracts talent from the private sector to do a 'tour of duty' in government. They bring in a user-centric design focus with agile methodologies and the ability to diffuse new team processes.


Through a dedicated team effort, OIT accomplished all of its WIGs in addition to dealing with COVID challenges. For example, OIT supported moving 80% of the state workforce to work remotely, innovated new solutions to expand the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment testing lab, and much more. Guided by the Governor's vision to have the agencies be accountable for their major IT solutions, we also put together an IT transformation plan to move to a reimagined hybrid operating model and set the steps to launch it.

Knowing the foundation had been set and the turn-around working, I assessed good personal progress and then moved on.


Using the Pursuit of Passionate Purpose approach, innovation can be nurtured and implemented. Innovation will positively impact public and private sector organizations and help build a stronger state, nation, and world. Innovation delivers extraordinary results!

What's Next

In the meantime, I'm seeking the right organization to make an even bigger innovative impact through a C-level position and/or board seats in the private or public sector.

Theresa M. Szczurek, Ph.D.
C-Level Global Executive, Corporate Director, and Colorado CIO of the Year

Copyright 2020 Theresa Szczurek.  All rights reserved.  (please share this blog post)

Innovation as a Strategy for Success

This is a time of great need. It's a time of great innovation. But what is innovation? defines it as something new or different. The act of introducing new things, devices, or methods. Novelty.
Influential scholar Everett Rogers, author of the classic Diffusion of Innovations book, defines innovation as "An idea, practice, or object that is perceived as new by an individual or other unit of adoption."

Why is Innovation Important?

A particular innovation alone is not enough. It needs to solve a problem or provide value. When implemented successfully, the new or novel idea delivers efficiencies, quality of life, productivity, growth, income, and/or other rewards to society and the economy. Organizations, whether they be governments, non-profit organizations, or for-profit corporations, thrive based on innovation.

The best innovation in the world is worthless if it sits on the buyer's shelf unused or, worse yet, if it sits in your garage unsold collecting dust. To make an impact and produce results, your innovations must be successfully introduced and implemented in the workplace, marketplace, and world. How do you do this?

Using the principles from my research and books, here are Practical Pointers for Innovation using my last Chief Information Officer (CIO) position as a case study.


Jim Collins, author of the best selling book Good to Great, believes that "Core values are not something people buy into. People must be predisposed to holding them." In his Mars exercise Collins explains, "One way to identify your organization's authentic core values is to form what I call the Mars group. Imagine you've been asked to recreate the very best attributes of your organization on another planet, but you only have seats on the rocketship for five to seven people. Who would you send?" Answer: a powerful, credible group that does a super job of articulating the core values precisely because they are exemplars of those values.

When I was appointed State of Colorado CIO, I led the executive team through the Mars exercise in order to discern the core values of the Governor's Office of Information Technology. In addition to five previously articulated values OIT had been living (Service, Integrity, Team Work, Respect, and Courage), we discovered that Innovation was another key, shared value. It was always there. It just needed to be articulated and honored.

We defined this value as, "Innovation: We foster new ideas. We challenge the status quo and continuously ask, How can we do this better? Then we take action and make a difference through novel processes and technology."

The intersection of values and gifts (or talents) describes what you are passionate about. Passion, intense enthusiasm, zeal, fervor, and interest determine how effectively you pursue purpose.


At OIT we next ran a strategic planning process. We conducted a SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats) analysis. We did a thorough assessment of what was and was not working. Once the values were clarified, we drafted our Mission ("Together we enhance the lives of all Coloradans") and Vision ("Be the best public service technology organization innovating today for tomorrow").

Stay tuned. We'll continue with additional Practical Pointers for nurturing innovation next time. Using the Pursuit of Passionate Purpose framework, we'll show how to align passion with a meaningful purpose and then pursue it persistently. Innovation as a pursuit of passionate purpose delivers great rewards.


With a clear approach, innovation can be nurtured and implemented. Innovation will positively impact public and private sector organizations and help build a stronger state, nation, and world. Strategy based on innovation delivers extraordinary results.  Establish an innovation culture with the right core values, vision, and mission.

What's Next

In the meantime, I'm seeking the right organization to make an even bigger innovative and meaningful impact through the right C-level position and/or board seats in the private or public sector.

Being In-between


"The only permanent thing in life is change." So said a wise meditation teacher of mine, Shinzen Young. Little did I know that he was probably quoting Heraclitus, the ancient Greek philosopher, who said, "There is nothing permanent except change."

Merriam-Webster dictionary defines change as an act to make radically different, to give a different position, course, or direction, or to modify.

My News

So I just made a big change. After 21 months as the Chief Information Officer of the State of Colorado, I moved on effective September 4th. Here's part of the August 10th Governor's media release:

"We can't thank Theresa enough for her work to advance the state's IT culture and enhance virtual access to government services in Colorado. She dedicated herself to improving customer satisfaction and ensuring that these essential services are delivered effectively and efficiently to Coloradans," said Governor Polis. "Theresa has also been critical in helping the state leverage IT to weather the impacts of the COVID-19 global pandemic. We wish her the best as she takes the next step in her career."

"The opportunity to serve Colorado has been an extremely rewarding and meaningful journey. Information technology is essential to many state services. It has been an honor and privilege to work on behalf of the Governor and his administration as a catalyst for change, side-by-side with my team of employees who are passionately committed to serving the people in this beautiful state we call home. I came in to pursue a passionate purpose, did what needed to be done, and now am ready to move on to the next opportunity," Szczurek said.

Szczurek, who was one of the few female state CIOs in the nation and recently received the first-ever 2020 Colorado CIO of the Year® ORBIE® Award in the public sector category, led digital transformation in the state with the launch of the historic Colorado Digital ID™ in the myColorado™ mobile app. Szczurek was instrumental in working with the Colorado Department of Revenue on the Sales and Use Tax Simplification (SUTS) system, launched in May 2020 ahead of schedule and under budget.


What's Next?

I am being an In-between'er to take time between pursuits.

As I wrote in Chapter 2 of Pursuit of Passionate Purpose, an in-between'er has known and pursued passionate purpose. Yet, the time came to let go and take a break. Being on the sideline, instead of in active play, presents opportunities to reorient and rejuvenate. This is the time to get to know and nurture yourself. After the right amount of space in this neutral zone, which only you can define, you will once again be ready to move on to the next stage of your life's overall purpose. And you don't have to be in-between purposes — you can just be resting in-between significant pieces of the same purpose.

An in-between time represents an important part of the cycle of life. Each day is a metaphor for life with a comparable cycle of dawn, day, sunset, and night. In every 24-hour sequence, you need to find time to rest and nourish. And so it is with passionate purposes. There is a time in-between to replenish and feed the soul.

Too often, we do not honor this downtime. We might even beat ourselves up for not having a clear purpose and energy. Have you ever asked, "What's wrong with me?" Perhaps nothing is wrong. It may just be the natural cycle of life seeking the necessary downtime for rejuvenation.

Using the principles of my own work and book, I am:

Taking time to relax, rest, and recharge. I just came back from an outdoor vacation with my family. Among other wild adventures, we hiked with llamas up to the continental divide.
Cleaning out by getting rid of the old in order to welcome in the new.
Getting to know and nurture myself again. Among other things, I'm learning Qi Gong, a centuries-old system of coordinated body-posture and movement, breathing, and meditation used for purposes of health, spirituality, and martial-arts training. Here is the perfect way to unify aspects of myself — head, heart, and hands — into a balanced whole.
Preparing for the possibilities. I am now in the BoardBound program, offered by the Women's Leadership Foundation, which helps women attain board seats. I am also seeking C-level executive positions, especially in technology.
Allowing. This is one of my life-long lessons to learn. This is a time to let go and go with the flow. It's a time to delight in the unknown and yet it's also uncomfortable.


Change is an important part of life, and so is being in the neutral zone. Rather than in active play, being in-between presents opportunities to reorient and rejuvenate, clean out, know yourself, prepare, and allow. This in-between phase represents an important part of the cycle of life. Give it a try sometime.

IT in the Time of COVID-19

Information Technology (IT) has never been more important. Consider how IT is helping us all survive and function in this challenging time of COVID-19. Let me share just a few ways the Governor's Office of Information Technology (OIT) in the State of Colorado is helping YOU — residents, businesses, and employees — stay connected.


Assistance. Major IT state applications are in great demand. Examples are Unemployment Insurance (UI) and the Colorado Benefits Management System (online at Colorado PEAK) which provides food, cash, and early childhood and medical assistance to the needy. Residents who have lost their job are applying for benefits at an all-time record rate. IT systems like these are seeing 10x the maximum load they were designed to encounter. To support the new Pandemic Unemployment Emergency Assistance program and the CARES Act, the systems were quickly upgraded, and millions of claims have been processed in less than a week since go-live.

myColorado. The myColorado mobile app provides residents with secure and convenient access to state services anytime, anywhere. The app's Colorado Digital ID™ enables you to create a secure electronic version of your Colorado driver license or state identification (ID) card on your smartphone for proof of identification, age, and address within Colorado. The app allows all Coloradans to view COVID-19 information in one place. Residents who are facing hardship can use the app to access benefits on Colorado PEAK. Coloradans can also sign up to receive helpful COVID-19 text and email alerts within the myColorado app. Download myColorado from the Apple App Store or Google Play today! 

Do You Have Symptoms? Learn more about what to do. An important step in reducing the spread of COVID-19 is to report your symptoms using the Colorado Community COVID Symptom Tracker. It collects data so that COVID-19 can be tracked among people who may not be able to or need to get tested for the virus. It helps public health experts and policymakers to map and identify potential hotspots not captured by testing. And by filling out the symptom tracker, the system can connect you with resources that can help with any physical or behavioral health symptoms you may experience during this time.

Hotlines. The state's objective is to route all COVID-19 public health questions through one trusted channel, and then connect callers to the appropriate experts for help. To quickly build up this capability, OIT has utilized Virtual Call Centers and Virtual Automated Agents. We're also providing the technology to allow remote call center workers to receive office calls on their personal phones. The impact has been so great that the concept has spread quickly — first to specialized OIT service desks such as myColorado and next to many other departments.

Other Resources. Stay informed at which provides access to important information and services, including how you can join others in #DoingMyPartCO. Stay Secure. Be vigilant. Watch out for the many COVID-19 scammers who are phishing to steal your personal information or trick you.

Stay Secure. Be vigilant and watch out for the many COVID-19 scammers who are phishing to steal your personal information or trick you. Be suspicious of unsolicited emails, phone calls, texts, or visits. Check out these tips that we have made available on our Cybersecurity Help webpage.



Help. Get the latest in COVID-19 economic recovery resources at Resources are available to support small businesses, nonprofits, freelancers, and independent contractors.

Safer at the Office. Offices can begin opening with restrictions in Colorado beginning May 4. Find recommendations for protecting your staff and customers at Safer at Home: Office-Based Business.  Local governments may have established other dates.

EMPLOYEES  (This is what Colorado is doing for our employees, perhaps it is relevant for those outside the state too.)

Telecommuting Is In. More than 80% of Colorado's 33,000 employees are working remotely, along with many other Coloradans. IT is allowing them to do so. It requires the right equipment (a computer, Internet access, and a phone), sufficient data and voice capacity, and secure access into state or corporate networks. Telecommuting help is provided through self-service and remote technical support, online training, and a "tech kit" offering written instructions.

Virtual Connections. Using audio, web, and video conferencing, we're staying connected virtually. Other means are internal organizational chats, texts, emails, and plain old phone calls. And to have fun with it, we have theme days where we wear hats, cool sunglasses, or school colors.


Recall Viktor Frankl's quote from Man's Search for Meaning, "Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms—to choose one's attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one's own way.”

Have hope. You are not alone. Help is here for individuals, businesses, and telecommuters. Even as we move into the "Safer at Home" phase, stay at home as much as possible. Always wear a cloth facial covering when leaving the house. Remember, you are resilient. You are strong. This too shall pass, and we will get through it together.  Let's be grateful for all we have and let's stay connected. Choose optimism.

Being Fearless in the COVID World

“...the only thing we have to fear is fear itself,”
said Franklin D. Roosevelt in his 1933 inaugural address. 

These are challenging times in Colorado and around the world with the onset of COVID-19. The degree of uncertainty that exists can understandably breed anxiety, and messages that intend to inform and help can make people more afraid. However, we can and will get through this together! 

In my research study about factors that help and hurt in successfully pursuing a passionate purpose, I asked people what holds them back and what encourages them in their pursuit. One of the biggest hindrances is FEAR. Fear causes self-doubt, anxiety, and anger; fear is a heavy burden. What would your life be like right now if you could cast out that fear?

Sometimes fear can help you to take action and avoid danger. For example during the COVID-19 pandemic that means enacting social distancing, practicing self-isolation, and thoroughly washing your hands. It can stop you from crossing a dangerous road or from getting hurt. However, so often fear is NOT rational. It can turn into obsessiveness - thinking about something over and over until you are immobilized and cannot take needed action. Fear can block effective movement.

Once you are aware of the potential negative impacts of fear, the next step is to take appropriate action. Use the “Pack Strategy" to unpack hindrances and pack energizers for your journey.

Here are some practical pointers:

  1. Lead. Take positive action, be calm, and be strong. Often this means focusing less on yourself and more on helping others. Work on being fearless.
  2. Select. Get in touch with what triggers you and be selective in what and who you listen, watch, surf, invest time in, and talk with.
  3. Use good judgment. Determine whether your fear is rational or irrational. If irrational, force yourself to quiet your mind and focus on positive aspects of life. When there is real danger, your body reflexively mobilizes to avoid it, minimize it, or fight through it.
  4. Be optimistic. Carry a hopeful, upbeat disposition and believe that good prevails. Repeat positive affirmations. Think of the good work being done by so many government employees, medical personnel, public health workers, non-profits, and businesses to proactively address the current challenges and ensure your safety.
  5. Surround. Circle yourself with less fearful people. Surround yourself with people who are not afraid. A recent research study showed that happiness is contagious. If you are around happy people, you will be more happy. If you are around fearful people, you will be more fearful. So find happy, kind, unafraid people with whom to associate.

We human beings are strong and resilient, perhaps stronger than we even know. Unpack fear itself from your life. Strive to appropriate action, be aware of fear triggers, use good judgment, stay positive, and surround yourself with unafraid people.

Make Money and Keep Workers Happy

As you look forward to the New Year, ask yourself some questions.  Am I living my values?  What changes can I make to better align my actions with my beliefs in my work and in my life?

Illegal Petes Live Wage Initiative values

Case Study:  Taking Care of Business by Taking Care of Employees

Illegal Pete's, a fast-casual burrito chain which started in Boulder, CO in 1995, just announced (as reported in the Daily Camera newspaper) raising the minimum wage for tipped hourly employees to $15 / hour in January.   That compares to the Colorado minimum wage of $8.08 per hour for tipped employees.  The company is also raising wages for salaried management positions. The quick-service restaurant concept also offers its employees fully matching 401k and health insurance for 30+ hour employees.

Pete Turner, founder, focuses on successfully running the business while investing in workers and the community.   Turner "believes that employees working in the quick-service restaurant industry should be fairly compensated, so that they can proudly turn what some consider a 'job' into a 'career.' "  So he established the Living Wage Initiative.

The Daily Camera reported:  Turner said, "We're passionate about doing the right thing by our employees and our communities, showing it is good business as well.  We're driving business values by running our business by our values."  The Living Wage Initiative has helped Illegal Pete's average unit sales to grow 16 percent and allowed the company to expand from seven to 11 locations.  Total employees equal 450, of which 260 employees are full time.

Illegal Pete's mission is to create a place for relaxed human connection.  It welcomes all.  Look for this poster in all locations.

Beyond his own restaurant, Turner advocates for better wages for all.  He co-founded Good Business Colorado with like-minded Colorado business-owners.  GBC is a sustainable business-minded organization advocating for socially-conscious business practices, and making meaningful, value-based choices in business.

Benefits from Keeping Workers Happy

  • Better wages make for more responsible employees. Turner stated, "At our restaurant we account for everything.  Nobody is stealing anything."
  • A better work environment that celebrates individuality and relaxed human connection. It's more fun.
  • Very low employee turnover reduces costs of retraining and costs of recruitment. With today's low unemployment rate, there is intense competition for good workers.. 
  • This helps a company's bottom line.

Carolyn Livingston, communication director for the Colorado Restaurant Association, said, "Everyone is looking for the magical formula to make money and keep the workers happy."  


Illegal Pete's has the magic.  That is why I choose them to cater my daughter's graduation party.  They are pursuing the passionate purpose of creating a place for relaxed human connection while living the values of dependability, hard work, people who love people, positive attitudes, having fun, living wages, welcoming all.  This produces great financial results and good food.  What actions can you take to pursue your passionate purpose?

Crossing the Chasm to Revenue and Profit

Entrepreneurial ventures bring to market and diffuse new products and services.  The end goal, never to be forgotten, is to sell enough at a profit that the firm makes money.  Also  these pursuits of passionate purpose deliver real rewards of meaning and connections. Delivering financial results is difficult. 

The Problem

Everett Rogers developed a theory on how, why, and at what rate new ideas spread.  Diffusion of Innovation explains that diffusion is the process by which an innovation is communicated over time among the participants in a social system.  Technology makes its way through the population in a bell curve distribution called the Technology Adoption Life Cycle.

The chasm v1

The Innovators, as explained by Geoffrey A. Moore in his book Crossing the Chasm, are Technology Enthusiasts and the first customers for anything that is brand-new.  "They don't have any money.  Only with their endorsement can a discontinuous innovation get a hearing, and so we often "seed" (read "give") products to this community to gain their support."  These techies desire to explore.

The Early Adopters are Visionaries that have an extraordinary influence because they will bring real  money to the table.  Yet each "Visionary demands special modifications that overtax the R&D resources of the fledgling enterprise. "  They desire to exploit the new capability. 

Innovators jump on the product at first, followed by Early Adopters, the Early Majority (Pragmatists) and Late Majority (Conservatives), to finally reach the Laggards (Skeptics).  These various players have different interests.  An entrepreneurial venture needs to go after the Early Market, which represents just 16% of the adoption.  This typically takes a minimum of 10 years.

This summary ( states, "People in the early majority are much more pragmatic. They don’t want big changes and huge innovations, but rather incremental improvements based on using proven products and solutions. The majority wants to buy from established brands, but without having the majority buy your product, you can’t become an established brand.  This dilemma is what Moore calls “The Chasm” and it’s something all companies must overcome, if they ever want to see their product become successful and reach the majority of the population."  How do you cross the chasm?

The Solution

Moore and fourminutebooks summarizes:

  1. The chasm is a gap between Visionary Early Adopters and the Pragmatic Majority.
  2. Crossing the chasm requires securing a specific niche as a beachhead first.
  3. Position yourself as a market leader in your niche by making a strong claim.

"When you contrast yourself with a market alternative (the traditional way of doing things) and a product alternative (a competitor, who uses the same technology, but in a different industry), you can easily position yourself as the leader in the new, combined field. This claim will allow you to focus exactly on your initial niche and eventually take the majority of the market share there, so you can then expand and dominate the rest of the market as well."


Fourminutebooks gives this example.  "Dropbox could’ve positioned itself by saying: 'For private PC users, who are sick of carrying files from one PC to the next via USB stick, we offer a hardware-free file syncing solution. Our service makes your files available on any device with an internet connection, just like YouTube does with video, but with any type of file you choose.' ”

Another example is Radish Systems' initial focus on healthcare.  For healthcare businesses which have callers frustrated by cumbersome automated phone systems and dreading interactions with hard-to-understand live clinicians, Radish offers 'voice with visuals' self-service and live assistance.  True Visual IVRs (Interactive Voice Response systems) aka Virtual Nurses offer callers from any phone with access to a browser via the Internet the ability to see, hear,  and store complex information.  This is similar to what conferencing firms do with video, but with any phone call compatible with existing infrastructure while sharing any visual.


Entrepreneurs need to cross the chasm by focusing on a specific niche to become its market leader.  Then expand.

Set Your Own Standard

How do you want to be remembered?  Tandean Rustandy, an inspiring rags-to-riches entrepreneur, is known for setting his own higher standard of contributing to others.  He states, "I believe all can benefit.  Ask what can I give, how can I serve?  When you go into business, determine how you can contribute to others."

Rustandy's Story

Tandean Rustandy was born and raised in a small town on a river in Indonesia from humble beginnings. There was no clean water and no electricity.  His grandfather was a shipper; he died when Rustandy was six years old and that shipping business died too.  Rustandy went on to build a successful, socially responsible, 'green standard' ceramics business which employees over 3000 people in five locations throughout Indonesia.  Having celebrated its 25th anniversary in business, PT Arwana Citramulia Tbk ( is the #1 ceramics firm in Indonesia and #14 in the world.  Rustandy is pursuing his passionate purpose. 

Rustandy's Practical Pointers.

  1. Get Educated. Luckily, his mother supported the concept of education. Rustandy received a good education -- High School in Toronto,  a B.S. in Finance in 1987 from the University of Colorado Boulder, Leeds School of Business, and an MBA in 2007 from the University of Chicago, Booth School of Business.  Rustandy was the first in his family to graduate college.
  2. Build Relationships and Stay In-touch with People. While working on his undergraduate degree and helping to pay his way through college while washing dishes, Rustandy made good friends.  One friend actually lent him money to pay his last semester of tuition.  They are like brothers now.  When Rustandy travels now, he chooses to take the train.  "I can afford to take a limousine, but that cuts me off from people.  It is important to see the real world so you can remember who are serving."
  3. Protect the Environment. After graduating from the CU Leeds Business School (,Rustandy got involved in a timber business in Indonesia.  It made him a multi-millionaire by the age of 25, but it was damaging the environment.  He decided to move on and start a socially responsible business. His current business, Arwana, is an eco-conscious company which has been awarded the Green Industry Award from the Indonesia’s Ministry of Industry for six years in a row from 2011 to 2016. Arwana is also the first company in Indonesia to obtain ISO 14001 certification for its environmental management system.
  4. Help the Disadvantaged. Rustandy chose to locate his new business in 1993 where he could help the poor through the creation of jobs in manufacturing tiles.  He now provides jobs, healthcare, and education for his employees.  It has not always been easy; his firm almost went bankrupt during an Asian financial crisis, but he has stayed true to his values. 
  5. Give Back. Rustandy says, "Everyone has responsibility to help the next generation."  A $20 million gift from Tandean Rustandy, supports expanded research and programming in social innovation and entrepreneurship at the University of Chicago through the newly named Rustandy Center for Social Sector Innovation.  He also made a $6 million pledge  to support innovation at CU Boulder.   “Our aim is to elevate our efforts in entrepreneurship, innovation and design in new, refined and disruptive ways in and outside of the classroom, said Sharon Matusik, dean of the Leeds School. “To have Tandean step forward with this meaningful investment to continue our long tradition of entrepreneurship helps further not only our momentum with curriculum advancements, but also our world-class reputation.”


Tandean Rustandy says, "Stay in touch with people, to stay connected to life.  Ask, how can I help?  Especially encourage young people to ask, how can I contribute?  He quotes Helen Keller, "The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched - they must be felt with the heart."

Pursue Happiness: Tips to Reap Real Rewards



"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness."     United States Declaration of Independence, July 4, 1776

You have a right to pursue and be happy, at least in the USA.  Many other countries, not all, agree.  Are you happy?  Happiness is defined by Merriam-Webster as  "a: a state of well-being and contentment: joy; b : a pleasurable or satisfying experience." 

The conclusion of my related study published in Pursuit of Passionate Purpose, is:

"The pursuit of passionate purpose, as well as its attainment, and relationships along the way bring the real rewards in life." 

Those rewards include tangible results, positive feedback, a stronger self, AND meaning and satisfaction in life.  Satisfaction in life is synonymous with happiness.

Impacts on Happiness

Your level of happiness depends on many factors including your age and marital status.  In summarizing the analysis of two longitudinal British studies on life satisfaction authored by John Helliwell, an economist at the University of British Columbia, and his former graduate student Shawn Grover, published in the Journal of Happiness Studies, Susan Pinker wrote in the Jaunary 27-28, 2018 Wall Street Journal,

"...happiness is U-shaped across the adult life-span, meaning it normally rises when we're young adults, drops during middle age when life's stresses and existential questions loom large, and then rises again as older adults regain their equilibrium." 

"...married people were 10% more satisfied than people who were single--and were more likely to stay that way.  While cohabiting couples were happier than single folks, they were only three-quarters as happy as marrieds.  ...a close marital bond spurs long-term happiness."

Practical Pointers to Pursuit of Happiness

Find and pursue a passionate purpose.  Passionate purpose is an intention or goal pursued with passion--intense enthusiasm, zeal, fervor, and interest. As a purpose connected to the Pursuer's values and gifts, it is significant.  The more meaningful the purpose, the more intense is the passion and the more noteworthy is the impact.  The pursuit is a 4-step process which includes:  know and nurture the person, find passionate purpose, pursue purpose, and assess progress.

Persist.  Persistence is the act of steadily pursuing purpose despite hindrances or obstacles.  Effective Passionate Pursuers mindfully persevere with focused determination toward their goal using a divide-and-conquer approach.  Once committed to a clear purpose or destination, they divide the journey into parts and couquer the whole, piece by piece.  Working with unremitting will toward a portion until they make some progress, they establish a positive feedback loop. (Learn more about the Persistence Strategy, Ch. 9, Pursuit of Passionate Purpose.)

Allow.  Allowing is also called surrender, non-resistence, letting go, or equanimity.  Effective Passionate Pursuers maintain clarity about what they want, while they allow how they get it to unfold.  They are receptive to options and without attachment to a certain outcome, yet they remain persistent.  In this Psychology Today article on happiness, Michael J. Fox is quoted, “My happiness grows in direct proportion to my acceptance, and in inverse proportion to my expectations.” (Learn more about the Allowing Strategy, Ch. 10, Pursuit of Passionate Purpose.)

Connect.  Don't try to do it alone.  The most effective Passionate Pursuers are connected to the web of life.  This support network includes the self and the right people, animals, plants, spiritual forces, and environment.  Proper people are the greatest energizer for pursuits and improper people are the biggest hindrance.  It is vital to build relationships with and bring along on life's journey the proper people and support web, which serve as positive forces.  Bring the proper people along and lessen the impact of the improper ones.  (Learn more about the Connections Strategy, Ch. 11, Pursuit of Passionate Purpose.)


You have the right to pursue happiness.  Begin now--start fresh now.  Here's how:  find a pursue passionate purpose, persist, allow, and connect with others along the way.  You will reap real rewards including meaning and satisfaction in life.

copyright Theresa M. Szczurek.  2017-2018.  All rights reserved.,,

Don't Wait: Live the Life You Want


The stories of living life interest me. That's why I interviewed 80 people from all walks of life for my book, Pursuit of Passionate Purpose. That's also why I read the Obituaries and go to Memorial Services.
At a holiday party my friend Alice shared about her travels to Patagonia in South America. In explaining her adventure goals for 2018 she advised, "Don't wait! Do what you want to do now. You never know what life may bring."

Mary Anderson's Life

To cement this important message, I read in Sunday's paper about the life of Dr. Mary Anderson (not her real name). She was an Emergency Room physician and health administrator with 30 years of compassionate and wise leadership at a local hospital. She entered health care to make a meaningful difference.

She was fearless. She skied off 14,000-ft mountains, jumped off towering cliffs in a hang glider, surfed the ocean's biggest waves, and fished the farthest reaches of British Columbia — all with a bold passion. She possessed a venturesome spirit, a keen and inquisitive mind, unbounded energy, a natural athleticism, a spiritual connection to the environment, a love of animals, and a deep devotion to family. For 20 years, she and her husband trained and ran marathons together from Athens, Greece to Santiago, Chile.

In the end, she died of a heart attack — just weeks before retirement and commencing the next phase of her life where she planned to drive her Sprinter van to the southern tip of Argentina. I didn't know Mary personally, but it seems like she lived a great, albeit short, life. She did not wait.

It's a Wonderful Life

Especially at this time of the year, I think of the classic movie, It's a Wonderful Life, starring Jimmy Stewart and Donna Reed. In the movie, Jimmy Stewart plays George Bailey who lives in Bedford Falls and runs the Bailey Building and Loan Association. He has a bucket list of his own, but he never gets to check anything off. He didn't travel the world as he envisioned; he gave up college so his younger brother could attend instead; he skipped his honeymoon to save the Building and Loan; he didn't own a trophy home or have a high-paying job. Through all of his trials and tribulations, however, he was able to help his family and the people of Bedford Falls in important ways. At the end, he was heralded as the "richest man in town" and the person who indeed had the wonderful life.

Tips to Live the Life You Want

Regardless of the path you're on and your goals for the future, there are many ways to achieve your own wonderful life. The key is to lead an authentic life now — the life you were born to live.

SET THE INTENTION to live life to the fullest. Make it a meaningful year and life.
PLAN. Dream big. What do you want to do with your one precious personal and professional life?
SIMPLIFY. Get rid of the clutter, financial constraints, and emotional baggage that may be holding you back. Resolve what needs to be resolved. Allow yourself to be free.
DON'T WAIT. Take action. What will you do today to bring your dreams into reality? Start now!


As George Bernard Shaw said, "Don't wait for the right opportunity. Create it!" Set the intention, form a plan, simplify your life, and start now to live your life to the fullest. Don't wait.  Resolve and start fresh.