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Three universals for living a great life

The result of a good break can be new insights for the company, its team and you

Theresa M. Szczurek //August 12, 2016//

Three universals for living a great life

The result of a good break can be new insights for the company, its team and you

Theresa M. Szczurek //August 12, 2016//

My mother always said, "Life is short. Death is sure." So it's important to ask, "Am I living the life I want now?"

Travel, if you pause to reflect on it, offers insights on the answer to this question. What changes have you made? Is your flame burning and is your life feeding your soul?

One change I decided to make was to take a break and pause my writing for a few months. I also took a major trip to Spain and Poland in honor of our 25th wedding anniversary with my husband Richard and 20-year-old daughter Annie who had just completed a semester abroad in Granada, Spain. Here are some thoughts from my last few months.

 Three Universals for Living a Great Life

GOOD PEOPLE ARE EVERYWHERE. If you open your eyes and reach out, you will find them. Through our travels we connected with in-country hosts from Servas International who welcomed us into their homes. These people shared local food, drink, culture, and conversation with us. Jesus and his daughter showed us great works of art in the museums of Madrid and the colorful streets and churches of Toledo, Spain. We spent hours with his diverse 'English-speaking' group, who were so excited to have Americans attend. We got to know the work and dreams of a train mechanic, teacher, security guard, post-doctoral energy researcher, finance director, and more.

Here was the Connections Strategy at work — build relationships with the proper people and support network and bring them along on life's journey. Lessen the impact of improper ones. Many new in-country friends, my family, Servas hosts, and the Radish team back home helped make this trip possible. Who is or should be part of your support network?

UNIVERSALS EXIST AND UNITE US. Regardless of age or country, a smile and laughter can break open one's heart. Mothers protect and love their children. Families care about the welfare of each member. People seek ways to make a living and make a meaningful difference. While the language may be different from country to country, people want safety, shelter and love.

In the Pyrenees mountains of Spain, we stayed with Gabriel, another welcoming Servas host, who had just returned from volunteering three weeks at a refugee camp in Greece. After climbing high to glorious waterfalls, glaciers, and mountain tundra during the day, we shared deep conversations over dinner at night trying to understand the challenges of the world. We learned about the struggles of the war-displaced people who were seeking freedom, peace, and opportunity after leaving their homeland and everything else behind. They lived in tents and received a nightly cup of hot soup and some donated food and clothing.

Here was the Persistence Strategy in action — mindfully persevere with focused determination using a divide-and-conquer tactic. Try tackling your next big project using the divide and conquer approach of the Persistence Strategy.

FAMILY CONNECTIONS CAN BE DEEP AND MEANINGFUL. Nearly 100 years ago, my grandmother, Antoniette, left the poverty of rural Poland at the age of 15 with her brother to find opportunity in America. She settled in the Chicago area along with millions of other Polish people, meeting and marrying my grandfather, Anthony, who had grown up just 4 kilometers away from her small village in Poland.

Through the years, letters kept our Polish-American family connected to our Poland family. During the hard Communist days in Poland, my Chicago family shipped back warm clothes and money. Only one family member Jan, a priest, came to America over that time. He served at my family parish, St. Mary of Czestochowa, in Cicero, Ill., to raise funds to build a new village church in Poland.

About 13 years ago, I was the first family member to go back to Poland and visit our relatives. Now my husband and daughter returned with me. WOW, what a home coming and great welcome. We got to know our relatives, ate Polish food, drank Vodka, saw the beautiful countryside, learned about the passion of the people for Pope John Paul II (the Polish Pope who is now canonized as a saint), visited family cemeteries and Father Jan's church and more. We experienced the family ties that bind over the miles and decades.

In addition to the Connections Strategy, here was the Attraction Strategy at work — hold a broad intention and be open to opportunities that are everywhere, while thinking, feeling passionately, and taking action to get what you want. We sought ongoing deep connections and family relationships. What are you seeking to attract in your personal and work relationships?

An entrepreneurial venture can be 24/7 if you don't set boundaries. It can and will demand an unlimited amount of your time and energy. This is a recipe for burnout and failure. The end result of a good break can be new insights for the company, its team and yourself. Try it and see what happens.

What about you? What do you want from your summer vacation? What did you or will you take away? How can you apply these insights to your pursuits of passionate purpose so you can reap the real rewards and live a great life?