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.

RESIDENTS

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 covid19.colorado.gov 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.

 

BUSINESSES

Help. Get the latest in COVID-19 economic recovery resources at choosecolorado.com. 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.

SUMMARY

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.

Summary.
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.


Colorado Announces 2019 Girls Go CyberStart Program

Lt. Gov. Primavera and Office of Information Technology announce 2019 Girls Go CyberStart Program

Over $200,000 in scholarships will be awarded to high school girls

The State of Colorado is again partnering with the SANS Institute to offer the Girls Go CyberStart program and encouraging high school students across the state to participate. In 2018, 250 students from 24 high schools in Colorado participated in the girls-only online cybersecurity competition through which prizes and scholarships are awarded. Students and schools can learn more and register at http://girlsgocyberstart.org.

“Women are underrepresented in the tech and cybersecurity industry,” said Lieutenant Governor Dianne Primavera. “We hope this fun challenge will encourage more young women to test their skills and explore opportunities in this field.”

The Girls Go CyberStart game is an online series of challenges that allow students to act as cyber protection agents to solve realistic problems and puzzles and explore exciting, relevant topics, such as cryptography and digital forensics. Participating students (and their teachers) do not need prior knowledge or experience in information technology or cybersecurity to participate. All that is required is a computer and an internet connection.

“Cybersecurity is a fascinating and ever-evolving field,” explained Dr. Theresa M. Szczurek, Chief Information Officer and Executive Director of the Governor’s Office of Information Technology. “I encourage young Colorado women to participate in Girls Go CyberStart and uncover a passion for information technology, because cyber experts are in great demand.”

The Girls Go CyberStart program is free for schools and students. As an added incentive for this year’s program, another $200,000 in college scholarship money will be awarded to high school juniors and seniors who perform well in the game. At least ten high school girls in Colorado will win scholarships, and the top three high schools in Colorado with the most participants will win awards of $1,000, $750, and $500, respectively.

All Colorado high school girls in grades 9 to 12 are invited to play. Registration opens February 18. Play begins on March 20.

About the Governor’s Office of Information Technology

The Colorado Governor's Office of Information Technology (OIT) is a dynamic organization responsible for the operation and delivery of information and communications technology services and driving innovation across Executive Branch agencies in the State of Colorado. OIT delivers smart technology solutions, provides quality customer service, and supports state agencies whose missions are critical to serving Coloradans. OIT oversees technology initiatives at the state level and recommends strategies to maximize efficiencies and offer cost-effective services through the application of enterprise technology solutions. The Office’s enterprise approach also enables the agile delivery of new applications to state agencies that improve the overall customer experience and citizen access to government services while increasing accountability and transparency.

OIT is also home to the Office of Information Security and the Colorado Broadband Office, and manages the Public Safety Communications Network which includes the Digital Trunked Radio System, a statewide wireless system that enables direct communications between first responders and agencies.

Find OIT online at Colorado.gov/OIT, and on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.

About Girls Go CyberStart

Girls Go CyberStart is an extracurricular learning competition for high school girls, designed to ensure that many more young women enter the cyber security profession in the coming years.

NBC News published an in-depth analysis of the 2018 Girls Go CyberStart program that is available at https://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/jobs-cybersecurity-are-Exploding-why-aren-t-women-picture-n865206.

Student testimonials can be found here:https://www.sans.org/CyberStartUS/girls-go-cyberstart-feedback

About SANS Institute

The SANS Institute was established in 1989 as a cooperative research and education organization. SANS is the most trusted and, by far, the largest provider of cyber security training and certification to professionals at governments and commercial institutions world-wide. Renowned SANS instructors teach over 60 different courses at more than 200 live cyber security training events as well as online. GIAC, an affiliate of the SANS Institute, validates a practitioner's qualifications via over 30 hands-on, technical certifications in cyber security. The SANS Technology Institute, a regionally accredited independent subsidiary, offers master's degrees in cyber security. SANS offers a myriad of free resources to the InfoSec community including consensus projects, research reports, and newsletters; it also operates the Internet's early warning system--the Internet Storm Center. At the heart of SANS are the many security practitioners, representing varied global organizations from corporations to universities, working together to help the entire information security community. (https://www.sans.org)


Overcoming Fear: Take Action to Defend Core Values

In challenging times, take steps to overcome fear.  The famous opening sentence of the Charles Dickens' novel, A Tale of Two Cities, begins, "It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair..."

According to literarydevices.net, "It tells about the time of chaos, conflicts, time of despair as well as happiness. It in fact tells us about the time of extreme opposites without any in-betweens." There are polarities that exist in all of life, including ourselves. Learn more at Polarity Management by Johnson, Pursuit of Passionate Purpose, Chapter 7 by Szczurek, and Go with the Flow by Szczurek.

Although published in 1859 about the French Revolution, this Dickens message also represents TODAY in a divided country and world. Such challenges can trigger FEAR.

Fear

Fear is a strong, unpleasant emotion associated with anxiety and fright. The known and the unknown — such as uncertainty — can trigger fear. There are at least two kinds of fear: irrational fright that you make up in your head and rational panic that comes from true danger. Both feel real. There is a time and a place for working through fear with persistence and another for getting out of the situation. Wisdom is knowing when to appropriately use each one of these.

Practical Pointers to Handle Fear

Eileen Joseph, philanthropic consultant, states, "We all face challenges. It is what we do with those challenges that make us the people we are."

  • KNOW YOUR VALUES. In these turbulent times, it is extremely important to know thyself. What are your values? What do you stand for? Values define what is meaningful to you. They are an essential element in defining your passion.
  • FACE AND NAME. Become aware of the discouraging forces, such as fear, that burden you. Identify and name them so it's easier for you to overcome. The way to work with obstacles is to admit them, not repress them.
  • CULTIVATE. Develop the opposite quality. Intentionally nurture and build the opposing positive force. What is the opposite of fear? It is love! How can you cultivate more love in your life and in the world?
  • SURROUND. Encircle yourself with supportive and loving people. Work together. Determine a strategy and plan of action.
  • COMMUNICATE. Strengthen your non-violent, compassionate communications skills. See, for example, Do You Really Hear Me?
  • LIMIT. In times where fake news and painful real news propagate, it's best to limit your intake. Yes, you want to be informed so you can take action, but overindulging in social media, broadcast news and cable can drive fear. Do a quick scan of headlines in print media and choose to read further or not.
  • DEFEND YOUR VALUES AND ACT. Once you know what you value, you can protect, guard, and take action to ensure you live true to your highest convictions. Just do it!

Example

Once while kayaking in turbulent whitewater, I found myself upside down in the water and unable to roll. It was more than I could handle and I experienced rational fear as part of an innate survival instinct. After unsuccessfully trying for years to improve my kayaking skills, I finally moved to river rafting so I could more easily work together with supportive and skilled paddlers while still living true to my outdoor adventure values.

Summary

As Eleanor Roosevelt advises, "You gain strength, courage and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You are able to say to yourself, 'I have lived through this horror. I can take the next thing that comes along.' You must do the thing you think you cannot do." 

Overcome fear, cultivate love.  Stand strong with your highest convictions.  Know what you stand for.  Take action to defend core values.

 

Theresa M. Szczurek (www.PursuitofPassionatePurpose.com; www.TMSworld.com; www.RadishSystems.com)

copyright 2017, all rights reserved.


Be Grateful: Three Tips and a Meditation

This is the season for Gratitude. Be grateful. What are you thankful for?

WHEN THE DAY IS DONE, BE GRATEFUL. Each night before I drift to sleep in my comfy, warm bed, I appreciate having a bed and a home and so much more. Many people in the world today don't have this luxury. I think of my Grandmother, who at the age of 15 left the poverty of rural Poland with her 17-year-old brother to find a land of opportunity in America. She never saw her homeland again or the relatives she left behind, yet she made new friends and built a family here.

I often think of this prayer. It's a chant from an ancient loving kindness meditation.
    May all who are in need find a comforting, safe home.
    May all be well and healthy.
    May all be happy.

WHEN THE NEW DAY BREAKS, BE GRATEFUL. Each morning as you start the day, breathe in energy and appreciate the opportunities. As Henry David Thoreau suggests, "Live deliberately... live deep and suck all the morrow of life." This is the time to reaffirm your passion, align it with a meaningful purpose, pursue it with all your heart and all your soul, and assess progress throughout.

THROUGHOUT THE DAY, BE GRATEFUL. Each moment with each breath brings the occasion to appreciate. Too often we don't stop to notice. Our lives are busy, hectic, and crazed with a seemingly infinite to-do list. There may even be a 'fear of stopping.' What will it take for you to stop and appreciate? Give yourself the challenge to stop. Every time the phone rings, a text comes in, the door bell rings or you eat something, be grateful for this one small thing. Especially appreciate the blessing of friends and co-workers. Tell them often how much you treasure the gift of their camaraderie.

Meditate on Appreciation

Sit comfortably, preferably in a quiet place without too many distractions. If possible, sit with upright posture aligning your head over your heart. Close your eyes, if possible. If not, just look into the distance with a softened, non-focused gaze. Take in a deep breath and exhale slowly, letting out all the tensions and preoccupations of the day. Relax.

Start with yourself, because without appreciating yourself, it is close to impossible to be grateful to others. Hold a picture of yourself in your mind.

See yourself physically expressing gratitude to yourself in whatever way is right for you. Imagine using your 'hands,' or physical being, giving a handshake, hug, smile, standing ovation, or other sign of appreciation.

Then using your 'head,' recite the following affirmation inwardly, "I appreciate all you have and will continue to do in pursuing this passionate purpose. You are making a meaningful difference. You are making progress. You are competent. Thank you for being you." Modify this affirmation until it's right for you.

Then with your 'heart,' send feelings of love, appreciation, and gratitude. Feel yourself being showered with thankfulness. A smile comes to your face, a warm glow sweeps over your body, and waves of good feelings permeate throughout and radiate everywhere.

Now gradually expand the focus of this meditation to others for whom you are appreciative. Hold a picture of one fellow being after another, or a group together. See yourself physically expressing thanks to the person or people. Recite the affirmation. Feel a loving connection.

As you wish, expand the focus to encompass spiritual forces in the Universe.

When the time is right and you want to end the meditation, slowly bring your awareness back to your situation and space.

Summary

Suck the morrow of life. Live deliberately. Live passionately. Be grateful. Stop and notice. Meditate and appreciate. Be thankful for the opportunities of the day and the friends that bless the way.

Theresa M. Szczurek (www.PursuitofPassionatePurpose.com, www.TMSworld.com, www.RadishSystems.com)  copyright 2015.  All rights reserved.


NEVER QUIT: Practical Pointers to Integrity of Effort

The Trait of Never Quitting

My theme in 2015 is "Be a SUNFLOWER." Each letter of the word aligns with one of the traits of successful Passionate Pursuers as explained in the book Pursuit of Passionate Purpose. N stands for Never Quit. Passionate Pursuers have a strong inner drive — a determined willingness and ability to work hard to get what they want. They maintain integrity of effort and a strong work ethic. This 'industry' concept, also a fundamental element in the progress of human development, is defined by Erik Erikson as the ability to "eagerly work and produce to completion by steady attention and persevering diligence."

Never Quit in Principle

I just returned from my annual women's backpacking trip. It was awesome to be in pristine wilderness with good friends. Yet, this trek was longer than previous years and it reaffirmed some of the 'Never Quit' principles. On the way out, carrying a heavy load in a different pack that did not fit me well, I doubted if I was going to make it. My friends had hiked together with me for most of the day, but when we got to the last three miles, after a refreshing dip in a mountain stream, they took off like horses heading to the barn. I was alone and tired. I wanted to quit, but that was not an option. What did I do? I sang songs to re-energize. I divided the hike into 1-mile segments using the 'divide and conquer' strategy and rested after each leg. I stopped to eat and drink water at that point, and I continued step by step. It was past 6:30 in the evening when I arrived back at the trailhead, but I made it!

You've probably been here. There have been many times with my current and former pursuits, when I've considered calling it quits. Indeed, there are times when it's the right thing to do. However, there is much to gain from accessing the situation first before making a rash decision to quit — a decision you may regret. A successful serial entrepreneur who is now the CEO of Orbotix, Paul Berberian, once told me, "Every entrepreneurial venture of mine has been at the brink of failure at one point in time. We somehow were able to pivot and bring about a good end." He had and still has the 'never quit' attitude.

Practical Pointers

Take a break. Rest. Step back and gain some perspective. You may be burned out and not able to see the forest for the trees.
Do an honest assessment. Use the multiple techniques explained in Pursuit of Passionate Purpose (p. 115-120) — Smile / Sign Monitor, Force Field Analysis, and Progress Inventory. What is working? What is not?
Assess Intrinsic Motivators. Are you getting a sense of meaningfulness, choice, progress, and competency from this pursuit? If not, why not? Can anything be changed?
Ask Outsiders. What would they do if they were in this situation? Ask why. It may be obvious to others what to do. Ask for help.
Pivot. Is there an alternative gameplan or strategy that would get you moving where you want to go? What would it take to implement?
Divide and Conquer. Have you taken on a huge project, perhaps too large? Can you divide the project into portions and accomplish just one piece? If you accomplish this, might that give you a sense of progress and re-energize you to continue?
Plan B. If there's no forward movement, if you have no energy / passion / enthusiasm for the pursuit, and if all alternatives have been exhausted, it may be appropriate to move on. What can you do to maintain your integrity of effort and learn even in this ending?

Don't Quit - A Poem

While hiking, I recited a popular poem written by an anonymous author called Don't Quit that has helped me over the years. The last stanza is below.

Success is failure turned inside out
The silver tint of the clouds of doubt
And you never can tell how close you are,
It may be near when it seems so far;
So stick to the fight when you're hardest hit,
It's when things seem worst that you must not quit!

Summary

Success comes from a 'Never Quit' attitude. Maintain your integrity of effort. Take these steps to help you along the way: take a break, assess progress, ask for help, pivot, and divide and conquer.

Theresa Szczurek (www.RadishSystems.com, www.PursuitofPassionatePurpose.com, www.TMSWorld.com)

copyright 2015.  All rights reserved.  Theresa Szczurek


FERVOR: Pointers to Foster Your Passion

WHAT IS FERVOR?

 My theme in 2015 is “Be a SUNFLOWER.™”  Each letter of the word aligns with one of the traits of successful Passionate Pursuers. F stands for Fervor.  Fuel your pursuits with intense passion.  From p. 53 in Pursuit of Passionate Purpose, "When you are passionate, you have intense zeal, fervor, and devotion.  Passion reflects interest, enthusiasm, and excited involvement.  You will find what you are passionate about at the intersection of your values and gifts.  Passionate Pursuers have clearly defined convictions based on their core beliefs, morals, ideology, and ethics.  They know who they are and what is meaningful to them, and they align their values with their talents to spark passion.

 FOSTER PASSION.

 There are days when you feel like you are running on empty.  Your fuel for your pursuit seems to be gone.  We have all been there.  How to nurture passion?   Look at p. 71-75 in the book for more details, and follow these tips.

 PRACTICAL POINTERS.

  1. Clarify.  Probe further into your values and gifts.  Look for ways to increase your sense of meaningfulness and competency.
  2. Experiment.  Try things that are worthwhile for which you have some interest but not necessarily great passion, and experiment with stimulating passionate.  Passion can be developed.
  3. Cultivate.  Nurture and intensify passion with any activity by concentrating with more and more one-pointedness on an activity.
  4. Transfer.  Remember pleasurable sensations, image, and talk associated with a pursuit of passionate purpose that was on track.  Know that you can rekindle that passion and transfer it to other experiences.
  5. Remove.  Determine what blocks your passion and find ways to reduce the impact of this hindrance.
  6. Ask for help.  Surround yourself with people who will provide support.
  7. Rest and recharge.  Sometimes you just need a break in order to reconnect with your inner self. Are you burned out? Have you been burning the candle at both ends? Forgive yourself for just being human, sleep in, take a day off, go on a walk in nature, do nothing, watch the hummingbirds, meditate, breathe, and hang out in your hammock.

  SUMMARY.

Fervor or passion is the fuel for our pursuits.  "We may affirm absolutely that nothing great in the world has been accomplished without passion," said Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel.  Take steps to foster your passion:  clarify, experiment, cultivate, transfer, remove blocks, ask for help, and rest. 

Theresa Szczurek (www.RadishSystems.com, www.PursuitofPassionatePurpose.com, www.TMSWorld.com)

copyright 2015.  All rights reserved.  Theresa Szczurek.


LIVE YOUR PASSION: Follow the 2-4-6 Formula

How can you turn a good life into a great life? We can all use a reminder at times, even me. The process of researching and writing the book, Pursuit of Passionate Purpose, has provided some insight to me on the success formula for life. My hope is that others will benefit as well. The research affirms what others have said through the ages, "The pursuit of passionate purpose and relationships along the way bring meaning to life." Make a meaningful difference by aligning your passions with a worthwhile purpose and then persistently pursue it.

Live Your Passion: Follow the 2-4-6 Formula

My theme in 2015 is "Be a SUNFLOWER." Each letter of the word aligns with one of the traits of successful Passionate Pursuers. L stands for "Live the 2-4-6 formula." From Pursuit of Passionate Purpose (p.8), this formula "is the basis for successfully pursuing passionate purpose and reaping real rewards." The two-step formula (p. 253) consists of "following the proven four-stage process, then applying the six success strategies." Below are the tactics to effectively implement this formula.

Follow the Proven Four-Stage Process

Know and Nurture the Person (Find Your Passion). Get to know who you are and nurture your whole self.
Find Passionate Purpose. Foster passion, align it with a worthwhile purpose, and commit fully to the purpose.
Pursue Purpose. Develop and focus on implementing a plan by persistently involving people in partnership, resources, and communication.
Assess Progress. Evaluate progress, recognize success, appreciate, and determine what's next.

Apply the Six Success Strategies

Polarity Strategy. Instead of seeing a polarity as a problem to solve, honor opposites in life and allow dynamic movement between interdependent poles.
Attraction Strategy. Hold a broad intention and remain open to the opportunities that are everywhere — while thinking, feeling passionately, and taking action to get what you want.
Persistence Strategy. Mindfully persevere with focused determination using a divide-and-conquer approach.
Allowing Strategy. Be clear on what you want and allow 'how you get it' to unfold.
Connections Strategy. Bring the proper people and web of life along and lessen the impact of improper ones.
Pack Strategy. Pack energizers and remove hindrances from the journey.

Summary

Success is self-determined. You can turn a good life into a great life. Life is exactly what you choose to make of it. Life is short. Follow your heart, in harmony with your head and hands. Live your passion. Enjoy the process. Begin now!


OPTIMISIM: Tips to Keep on the Sunny Side of Life

Is it a sunny day?  Regardless of whether there are clouds, rain, or sunshine outside, the answer lies within you.  Successful Passionate Pursuers have Optimism.  They carry a hopeful, upbeat disposition and believe that good prevails. 

 

WHAT IS OPTIMISM?

 

My theme in 2015 is “Be a SUNFLOWER.™”  Each letter of the word aligns with one of the traits of successful Passionate Pursuers. O stands for Optimism.  From page 52 of Pursuit of Passionate Purpose, “Norman Vincent Peale in The Power of Positive Thinking popularized and humanized the importance of a can-do outlook using examples of real people. People with a positive attitude carry a hopeful, upbeat disposition with the believe that good ultimately overcomes evil.”

 

INSIGHTS FROM A LABYRINTH WALK

 

During a week-long meditation retreat in the mountains led by Shinzen Young (www.shinzen.org), I walked the outside labyrinth.  Merriam-Webster defines a labyrinth as a place that has many confusing paths or passages, something that is extremely complicated or difficult to understand.  However http://www.veriditas.org/guidelines has this to say about a spiritual, meditation labyrinth, "The labyrinth is not a maze. There are no tricks to it and no dead ends. It has a single circuitous path that winds its way into the center. The person walking it uses the same path to return from the center and the entrance then becomes the exit. The path is in full view, which allows a person to be quiet and focus internally.

 

Generally there are three stages to the walk: releasing on the way in, receiving in the center and returning when you follow the return path back out of the labyrinth. Symbolically, and sometimes actually, you are taking back out into the world that which you have received."

 

Here are my insights.

 

  1. Be grateful for those who have helped bring you to where you are now and those who have come this way before, have shown the way, and have tended the path.

 

  1. Keep going.  Put one foot in front of another.  The journey brings the joys, satisfaction, and learning of life. Sometime it looks like you are so close to the finish, but there may be a long way to go. There may be obstacles along the way, don't let that stop you.

 

  1. Rest and appreciate.  See the beauty and small, little flowers along life's way.  Hear the birds chirp.  What messages do they bring?  Feel the air with a touch of moisture, notice the dew sparkling in the morning sunlight.  Enjoy the diversity and difference of each stone along the path.

 

  1. Savor your progress.  Pat yourself on the back for what you have accomplished.

 

  1. Be optimistic.  Just like sunflowers which turn to the sun, raise your face to the light.  Find hope and the bright spots in life's journey. Remember and sing the popular American song, Keep On the Sunny Side

 

KEEP ON THE SUNNY SIDE

This song was originally written in 1899 by Ada Blenkhorn (1858–1927) with music by J. Howard Entwisle (1866–1903) and  popularized in a 1928 recording by the Carter Family

There's a dark and a troubled side of life;

There's a bright and a sunny side, too;

Tho' we meet with the darkness and strife,

The sunny side we also may view.

[chorus]

Keep on the sunny side, always on the sunny side,

Keep on the sunny side of life;

It will help us every day, it will brighten all the way,

If we keep on the sunny side of life.

 

Summary.

 

Life and work is a spiritual journey, whether you realize it or not.  Similar to walking a labyrinth, have hope as you notice, learn, appreciate, and continue along the way. Keep on the sunny side of life.

 

Theresa Szczurek (www.TMSworld.com; www.PursuitofPassionatePurpose.com; www.RadishSystems.com)

copyright 2015 all rights reserved.


It's Your CHOICE: Four Tips to Turn a Good Day into Great Day

Have you noticed?  Life and work bring many surprises, opportunities, challenges, and unexpected changes.  It can be a jungle out there.  Peace, health, and wealth may be illusive.  You may wonder, “Over what do I have control?” 

 

In Simple Abundance, A Daybook of Comfort and Joy, Sarah Ban Breathnach provides guidance, “The one thing we do have absolute control over is the quality of our days.  Even when we’re grief stricken, racked with pain, sick from worry, deeply depressed, squeezed by circumstances – how we greet, meet, and complete each day is our choosing.”

 

Henry David Thoreau agrees, “To affect the quality of the day, that is the highest of arts.”

 

Practical Pointers.

 

  1. Greet each day in a grateful, positive way.  Try this from Ban Breathnach, “Thank you for the gift of this wonderful day.” 

 

  1. Use the Self-fulfilling Prophesy in a Positive Way.  According to businessdictionary.com, a self-fulfilling prophesy is defined as any positive or negative expectation about circumstances, events, or people that may affect a person’s behavior toward them in a manner that causes those expectations to be fulfilled.  Expect a GREAT day. Ban Breathnach continues, “Days that are expected to be wonderful before they begin turn out to be so much more frequently than days greeted with grumbling.”

 

  1. Shift your perspective.  “Even loosy days possess hidden wonder.  Sometimes all you need is a moment of attitude adjustment to shift your perception of an entire afternoon and move forward into a pleasant evening,” learned Ban Breathnach.

 

  1. Invest your energy.  Put your heart, head, and hand (or physical) energy into your day.  “All days are wonderful in direct proportion to the creative energy invested in them.  No investment, no return.  Weather does not seem to affect the experiment.  Gray, cold, and rainy days spent in an office are just as susceptible to the warming influence of enthusiasm as are sunny days spent lying in a hammock sipping sangria,” explains Ban Breathnach. 

 

Diary of a Start-up.

 

A high school friend recently visited me.  She had me read a very detailed horoscope for my upcoming birthday month October.  It predicted with two upcoming eclipses, there were major, positive career developments coming my way.  Well, I don’t normally read these predictions, but this helped me set a positive expectation.  It shifted my perspective. It activated my use of the “Attraction Strategy” as described in my book Pursuit of Passionate Purpose.

 

Low and behold in exactly the stated timeframe, the forecast delivered:  a new partner found Radish with exactly the right skills, attitude, and contacts to leverage our core competencies and product.  In our discussions, that partner said, “This is a partnership made in heaven.  It may be serendipity, but we are very excited to work together.”  Other good things began and continue to happen with new customers, additions to our team, positive response to our newest product offering, and much more. 

 

Conclusion.

 

The quality of your day is self-determined.  It is your choice.  “It doesn’t matter whether a day is good or bad.  What matters is what we do with it,” concluded Ban Breathnach.  You can turn a good day into a great day.  You can turn a good life into a great life.  Begin now!

 Theresa M. Szczurek (www.TMSworld.com; www.PursuitofPassionatePurpose.com; www.RadishSystems.com)