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.

Ten Tips To Go Beyond Stress to Happiness and Productivity

If you at times feel stressed out and overwhelmed, you are not alone. As highlighted in Greg Easterbrook’s book The Progress Paradox:  How Life Gets Better While People Feel Worse,  “Stress is the dirty secret of success:  as life gets better than ever, people are feeling worse.”  The result is negative for the workplace and home life.  Here’s what to do about it.


Impact of Stress.


“In the short-term, acute stress can boost cardiovascular performance.  If the stress is not too severe, the brain performs better.  Its owner can solve problems more effectively and is more likely to retain information.  If the stress is too severe or too prolonged, however, stress begins to harm learning.  Stressed people do not do math well, don’t process language very efficiently, and can’t concentrate.  Stress attacks the immune systems, elevates book pressure, and can cause depression, which alters the ability to think. Stress causes companies to lose between $200B and $300B a year – as much as $75B of red ink a quarter,” summarized Dr. John Medina, author of the New York Times bestseller Brainrules.  “The perfect storm of occupational stress appears to be a combination of two malignant facts:  a) a great deal is expected of you and b) you have no control over whether you will perform well.” 


Easterbrook states, “Research also shows that those who enjoy career success and exhibit stress symptoms are twice as likely as the population at large to describe themselves as ‘very unhappy.’  That the stressed-out are likely to be unhappy is a warning sign, because stress, measured either by emotional state or by cortisol (i.e., stress hormone) levels is rising in society.” 


Ten Practical Pointers:  What Can We Do to Reduce Stress?


These suggestions to move to a healthy level of stress include both short-term lifestyle changes as well as longer-term goals.


  1. Exercise.  Engage in at least 30 minutes of physical activity daily.  Medina’s Brainrule #1 is ‘exercise boosts brain power.’


  1. Turn off TV / media.  Media presents us with information to worry about.  Bad news sells.  There are then even more entries on your list of worries, activating more stress.  Zac Bissonnette presents five things every high-school graduate should try to remember (these apply to people in general) in his 5/22/2011 article in the Denver Post Wall Street Journal Sunday article and “No 5:  TV makes you feel poor.  One of the fastest ways to make yourself better with money is to smash your television—or just watch it less.”


  1. Meditate.  Stop and be in this moment.  Meditation, which involves observing what is and then accepting it, brings tangible results of improved concentration, energy, relaxation, and more positive emotions.  Andrew Weil, MD, reports, “Meditation may not only make you happier, but also keep you healthier.  It can benefit health concerns ranging from stress and anxiety to atherosclerosis and chronic pain.” 


  1. Connect.  Use the “Connections Strategy” described in Chapter 11 of Pursuit of Passionate Purpose to surround yourself with positive people who care about you.   Be part of the interconnected web of life and connect with your true self as well as spiritual sources and other beings such as animals – your stress level will be more manageable.  Get in nature.  Open to grace also called serendipity, synchronicity, divine intervention, intuition, or random opportunity.


  1. Sleep.  Brainrules #7:  Sleep well, think well.  Loss of sleep hurts attention, executive function, working memory, mood, quantitative skills, logical reasoning, and even motor dexterity.  Since reading Medina’s book, I have started sleeping more, rather than working late into the night.  The result is very positive.  Try it.


  1. Divide and Conquer.  You don’t have to do everything on your plate now.  Use the “Persistence Strategy” described in Chapter 9 of Pursuit of Passionate Purpose to mindfully persevere with focused determination using a divide-and-conquer tactic.  Rather than being overwhelmed with a huge project, divide your purpose into parts, focus your attention, and choose to accomplish a small section well.  This increases the likelihood you will get a sense of choice, competency, and progress.  These three attributes build intrinsic motivation, which build passion and more desire to continue.


  1. Enjoy the Journey.  Tap into life as a river flowing. Laugh at yourself and the situation, if possible. Have a playful attitude. Take a break.


  1. Be Grateful. Have gratitude for what you have, rather than regret over what you don’t have.  Change your attitude.


  1. Cut Debt.  The burden of debt and finances run amuck can be very stressful. Whether you are managing a business or your family, live within your means.  Cut your expenditures and cash flow.  Avoid debt and payoff whatever debt you have.  Bissonnette’s No. 1 recommendation:  Debt is slavery. 


  1. Review Your Long-term Goals.  What do you really want with your life?  Are you living the life you want?  If not, consider modifying your plans.  Perhaps the job and life anxiety is not worth what you are gaining.  How can you establish reasonable expectations of what is expected of you and gain more control over producing the end result? Should you slow the hectic pace and not buy into the societal rat race? “Lives of thrift and conscientiousness lead to less stress, great enjoyment of the things we do have, and a lighter carbon footprint, “ says Bissonnette in his recommendation No. 4:  Materialism is misery.


Radish Case Study.


Yes, Radish, as any entrepreneurial venture, is at times stressful.  So much to do, so little time.  Lots of responsibility, little control.  Increasing expenses, limited cash flow.  What do I do as CEO to reduce the stress?  All of the 10 tips above.  Additionally, I work to attract a talented team of people who can help us make progress.  Radish just announced hiring outstanding industry talent:  Tom Colamonico, VP of Sales; Jackie McDonald, Director of Customer Care; and John Meteer, Channel Sales Manager.  Read more at




Some stress boosts performance.  Too much stress negatively impacts. Take action now to reduce your and your employees’ stress to the right level.  You and your people will be more happy and productive in both the short-term and the long-term.


Theresa M. Szczurek (,,


If you listen to and read most of the media today, you get the message that the world is falling apart. Negative  news is everywhere. One could easily conclude that everything is going down the drain.  It is just NOT true -- polarities exist in all of life. There is good as well as its opposite. 

Why so Negative? 

  • It is based on the filter which news editors use.  Bad news sells.  Market research shows that people remember negative messages longer.  This is why so many political campaigns focus on the negative aspects of the opponent. 
  • People, like YOU, are accepting this.  We need to revolt and make it known that we want a balanced reporting that includes the good. When consumers refuse to buy the negativity, the media will change and provide a more balanced perspective on life.

Here is Goods News.

There is a lot of good news.  You just have to look for it.  Here are five practical pointers on what to do.

  1. Check out  Let me and others know of other sources for good news.  Visit these outlets regularly.
  2. Spread good news.Let it be known that you want good news. Help communicate this message to others. I search out, for examples, people and organizations that are successfully pursuing their passionate purpose.  I write about them, speak about, and help them prosper.  In this way, I am focusing on and propogating the good work whereby people are making a meaningful difference.
  3. Believe in the power of positive thinking, positive reporting, and positive people as the medium.  Surround yourself with like-minded optimistic people. When you find those people who only propogate the negative, let them know enough is enough and you are not interested in their message anymore. 
  4. Create you own filter.  Don't listen or read it all.  People can get sucked into the negative.  It is addicting.  Turn it off.  I choose to get my news in print format so that I have control over what I absorb. By doing a quick scan of the headlines, I can then choose what I will read further.  With broadcast media, you have much less control.
  5. Learn how to balance polarities.  Read Chapter 7 on the Polarity Strategy in Pursuit of Passionate Purpose.  When you are experiencing the downside of one pole, bad news, then take action to experience the upside of the other pole, good news. It works!

Take on a success strategy -- get on the good news bandwagon!

Theresa M. Szczurek ( and


With the historical inauguration on 1/20/2009, record numbers of Americans and citizens of the world paused to listen. President Obama's message ignited millions of people. Many were moved to tears or felt goose bumps and tingles up their spine. Why?

As summarized in the Denver Post on 1/21/09, "The president's much-anticipated inaugural speech fused inspirational rhetoric with pragmatic goals aimed at compelling Americans to act while reassuring them that the country can rise to the occasion." The inaugural address tapped into a ancient, universal and sacred process that has been proven to help people produce extraordinary results -- the results needed by America and the world. Here is an overview of how Obama's message utilized the four-step process, called the "Pursuit of Passionate Purpose" process (, to inspire hope, courage, and action.

Assess Progress.

Obama honestly assessed the current situation, "We are in the midst of a crisis..our nation is at war...our economy is badly weakened...our health care is too costly, our schools fail too many, and ... the ways we use energy strengthen our adversaries and threaten our planet. Less measurable but no less profound is a sapping of confidence across our land--a nagging fear that America's decline is inevitable and that the next generation must lower its sights. Today I say to you that the challenges we face are real. They are serious and they are many. They will not be met easily or in a short span of time. But know this, America -- they will be met." Built from this honest assessment, the new president then reaffirmed our passion, connected it with our purpose, and established a clear plan of action to pursue.

Find Passion.

Passion is the fuel of any pursuit. It is found in the alignment of values with core competencies. Obama restated what we stand for, "We're guided on a path by core values and what our system stands for. Our challenges may be new. The instruments with which we meet them may be new. But those values upon which our success depends -- hard work and honesty, courage and fair play, tolerance and curiosity, loyalty and patriotism -- these things are old. These things are true."

Our core competencies are many as Obama explains, "It has been the risk-takers, the doers, the makers of things who have carried us up the long, rugged path towards prosperity and freedom. We remain the most prosperous, powerful nation on Earth. Our workers are...productive. Our minds are...inventive, our goods and services...needed. Our capacity remains undiminished." Obama also stated, "Our patchwork heritage is a strength, not a weakness. We are a nation of Christians and Muslims, jews and Hindus, and nonbelievers. We are shaped by every language and culture, drawn from every end of this Earth."

Align Passion with Purpose.

Passion alone is aimless, it must be aligned with a meaningful purpose. As Victor Frankl concludes in Man's Search For Meaning, "There is a human need for purpose." Obama connected our values and gifts, our passion, with a noble purpose, "On this day, we gather because we have chosen hope over fear, unity of purpose over conflict and discord. The time has come to reaffirm our enduring spirit,... to carry forward that noble idea that ...all are equal, all are free and all deserve a chance to pursue their full measure of happiness. We understand that greatness is never a given. It must be earned. The success of our economy depends not just on the size of our gross domestic product, but on the reach of our prosperity, on our abiity to extend opportunity to every willing heart -- not out of charity -- but because it is the surest route to our common good. " Thus, our passionate purpose is to continue the journey toward freedom, greatness and common good.

Pursue Purpose.

In setting a plan with clear goals, the new president encouraged right action, "Starting today, we must pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off, and begin the work of remaking America." Highlighting some of the key strategic initiatives in his plan of action, the president stated, "The state of the economy calls for action, bold and swift, and
  • We will act--not only to create new jobs but to lay a new foundation for growth...

  • We will restore science to its rightful place and wield technology's wonders to raise health care's quality and lower its cost.

  • We will harness the sun and the winds and the soil to fuel our cars and run our factories.

  • We will transform our schools and colleages and universities to meet thedemands of a new age."

Obama continues:

  • "We will begin to responsibly leave Iraq to its people and forge a hard-earned peace in Afghanistan.

  • We will work tirelessly to lessen the nuclear threat and roll back the specter of a warming planet.

  • Those who manage the public's dollar will be held to account--to spend wisely, reform bad habits and do our business in the light of day."

Having a plan is not enough. It takes courage and action to pursue it. Obama charged Americans to pursue this passionate purpose and in so doing reap the real rewards of meaning and satisfaction, "What is required of us now is a new era of responsibility--a recognition, on the part of every American, that we have duties to ourselves, our nation, and the world, duties that we do not grudgingly accept but rather seize gladly, firm in the knowledge that there is nothing so satisfying to the spirit, so defining of our character, than giving our all to a difficult task.

And so President Obama on this historic inauguration inspired Americans and the world to 'Believe and Act' and in so doing continue to bring forth the great gift of freedom.

Theresa M. Szczurek ( and


These are fearful, challenging times.  If you listen to the media, you hear news telling us why we should be afraid.  Fear breeds more fear.  You can turn the worst of times into the best of times by letting go of fear.

In my research study about factors that help and hurt people in successfully pursuing their passionate purpose, I asked people what holds them back and what encourages them on their pursuit.  One of the biggest hindrances is FEAR.  Fear causes self doubt; fear is a heavy burden. 

Sometimes it makes sense to be fearful.  It can stop you from crossing a dangerous road or from getting hurt.  However, so often fear is not rational.  Fear is often irrational.

Once you are aware of the negative impact of fear, the next step is to take appropriate action.  Use the Pack Strategy (see the book Pursuit of Passionate Purpose) to unpack hindrances and pack energizers for your journey. Here are some practical pointers:

*  Limit the amount of exposure you have to the media and to be selective in what you listen/watch.
*  Be aware if your fear is rational or irrational. If irrational, force yourself to quiet the mind and to focus on positive aspects of life.
*  Say positive affirmations.
*  Surround 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, unafraid people to be with. 

Theresa M. Szczurek ( and