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The Berlin Wall deconstructed 30 years ago. Your walls need the same.

Throughout our lives, we all get hurt in some way. People disappoint us. Bosses fail us. Family doesn’t get us. Relationships fall apart. Circumstances arise that we never thought would ever happen to us. But, it happened. We can’t go back and change what’s already occurred.

As a result, we put up walls. We think these walls protect us. They keep us safe. Or, so we think.

After World War II, the Berlin Wall was constructed to keep two different political sides apart. Yet, over time, people felt stuck. They wanted to freely move from one side of Germany to the other. It wasn’t safer to be on one side. Most of all, it took decades to realize that. It wasn’t until when people could travel freely that their economy soared.

November marks the 30th anniversary of the final deconstruction of the Berlin Wall. Deconstructing the wall took a few years. How does this relate to you? When you open up your heart again, it takes time for the barriers to fall down.

What are you willing to deconstruct and let go of so that you live the life you want?

Too often, when coaching clients, I can metaphorically see a metal shield around their heart. The wall of protection is so great that they shield themselves from the good as much as they do the bad. When this happens, people do not let in all they good they really want.

Where in your life do you want the freedom to move freely again?

The hardest part about all this. Its not only about letting down the walls, its about willing to receive the good as well.

Wishing you an abundant, joyful and prosperous day!

Lora Polowczuk
Chief Energy Officer
© Priority Retreats International

Your role on a team

A high caliber team of mountain athletes assembled for an ambitious expedition to a remote mountain with high granite and glacier peaks high above the remote jungles in Burma. Unlike a typical expedition up Mt. Everest, there were no porters, fixed lines. And, they were far away from any helicopter rescue or medical treatment facility. To even access the mountain took a journey of over a month through narrow trails on cliffs, leech infested swamps, and remote villages.

The team was not prepared to carry the excessive gear required for the journey inland, let alone up the mountain. They hired local villagers to help trek their gear and food. This month long journey to the mountain wore the team out before they even started up the sheer cliffs of the mountain.

As the team set-up base camp, some began to wonder what this was worth. Others had other commitments they were suppose to be back in the U.S. for. Even the team lead mentioned, she only had eight days to summit the peak before she had to return for a family vacation. Mark Jenkins, who’s idea it was to do this peak to begin with, wondered in his head, what the real commitment level was. Why did each person choose to be here or come at all? Fights ensued and the team became grumpy.

Despite limited time, the team began to climb these shear granite peaks. The team lead succumbed to lacked the confidence to set the direction of the team. Ultimately, she backed down and asked someone else to take the lead up the mountain.

Half way up, two team members refused to go any further. They didn’t feel equipped or had the right experience to move further and thought the expedition became too dangerous. The three remaining team members lightened their load and continued up the mountain with little food and water. Acknowledging to the remaining team that if they don’t return after two days, to head back down the mountain.  

Ultimately, while the three remaining team members made it further, it would be too far to summit and make it back down safely. One team member was starting to battle frost bite.

What’s the lesson in all this?

1.       Speak up. Even if you’re not the leader, your ability to influence the team is huge. It’s called leading without authority. Where, when, and how can you show case the benefits and risks.

2.       Practice as a team. While this elite team had an impressive skill set, they did not climb together beforehand to see how decisions would be handled and made or even how each team member fit into the team overall. Do you take the time to identify how you will make decisions ahead of time? 

3.       Commitment. What is each other’s level of commitment to the success of the mission? What factors come into play to decide when to turn around or stop?

How and when you make decisions as a team is critical to its success.  As a leader, are you taking into consideration the team’s thoughts and ideas

Wishing you an abundant, joyful and prosperous day!

Lora Polowczuk
Chief Energy Officer
© Priority Retreats International

Your body signals what to do.

Ever ignore signs from your body? 

How often does your body give you a sign that something hurts or something is not going right? That something is too much or too little? 

We think pushing at 120% means we will get everything we want. But, at what cost? We often ignore our body signals and keeping going full throttle until our bodies break down. In past years, I’ve wrecked my health doing too much of everything. So, when my body gives me that signal, I listen. 

Can I share a short story?

I knew I was overdue for some mountain time far from the electronic and plugged in world. This backpacking trip was one of a kind. We took a train, got dropped off in the middle of the mountains, and hiked up into a gorgeous basin full of lush green meadows, steep granite, and flowing creeks.

The first day, I was much slower than the rest of the group going. It had been some time since I carried a 40+ pound pack on my back. I took my time and enjoyed the gorgeous scenery along the way. The following day, we goal was to hike a 14,000ft mountain. However, my body wasn’t having any of it. Half way, I developed lightheadedness and kept going for a while. Shortly before reaching the top, I became queasy – another symptom of altitude sickness. I started to lose my footing, and almost fell over. Despite being so close to the top, I decided to head back down the mountain forgoing the summit. While I easily could get irritated at myself for not being in better shape or not training enough, I accepted myself for where I was. 

The difference was this. My goal was very different than my friends who were also there. Their goal was to summit the 4 surrounding 14,000ft mountains. My goal was to get unplugged from electronics, enjoy the beauty of the mountains, relax, and get some exercise via hikes each day. So, on the second day, I skipped the group hike and solo hiked half way up and enjoyed a nap in 3 beautiful locations along the trail. The first nap was with mountain goats roaming around a crystal clear alpine lake settled underneath high peaks. The second nap was among wild flowers and a huge waterfall. The third nap was catching sun rays while laying on slab rock near the end of the trail. 

I listened to my body. I needed rest. 

I needed to hear the rustling of the flowing water, clearing away any negativity. Along the way, I found a vibrant orange butterfly, silly mountain goats, a white moth that led me up the trail, saw multiple shades of green, and blue and purple wildflowers. 

Instead of the go, go, go. I became more aware of my surroundings. Took in every deep breath of fresh crisp mountain air, and listened to my body. I accepted myself where I was. I didn’t need to follow someone else’s goals. I only needed to be aligned with my own truth. 

So, I ask you this: 

-What signals is your body telling you? 

-Where do you need more self-acceptance? 

Wishing you an abundant, joyful and prosperous day!

Lora Polowczuk
Chief Energy Officer
© Priority Retreats International

You need a mental diet

Most people think of diet in terms of physical. What type of food are you eating? How often are you exercising? In the end, diet is about a lifestyle, which has multiple components. The biggest aspect is missing.

Shelly’s alarm woke her up every morning to the top five world news stories for the day. She felt as if she stayed on top of world events. While she always had a good night’s sleep, she never figured out what made her anxious every morning.

As her morning continued, Shelly checked her iPhone scanning through text messages, social media messages, and then her dreaded work email inbox. By the time she ate breakfast, Shelly felt as if she’d been hit by a ton of bricks.

What Shelly didn’t know was that her body was in a constant state of flight-or flight. Cortisol and adrenaline, the biochemical components of flight or flight, keep her amped up. She could barely sit at work. She eagerly paced in her office and while on client calls.

Shelly started wondering what was going on. Her once rock star sleeping faded as if clouds rolled in on a moonlight evening. Soon, the downward spiral equated to a snowball that picks up more snowflakes as it slides down a big hill. Her life and career collapsed as if a wrecking ball hit her.

Shelly took one hard look at her behaviors and what could be changed. What she consumed mentally was making her a nervous wreck.​​​​​​​

Instead of news feeds and electronic checking, she decided to do something new. She would not turn on a single electronic for the first hour of the day.

–  No news: Shelly decided to check the news late afternoon.

  –  No electronics: This allowed Shelly to stay on top of her day. She focused on her own priorities for the day. Checking emails only gets you suckered into other people’s agendas.

​​​​​​​​​​​  –  Eat mindfully: She ate breakfast without anything else. Shelly then chewed her food more instead of swallowing food whole. Suddenly, Shelly could eat less and feel more full.

Consuming news, social media, and even youtube videos is what your mind eats. Are you filling your mind with good nourishment or someone else’s agenda? 

Wishing you an abundant, joyful and prosperous day!

Lora Polowczuk
Chief Energy Officer
© Priority Retreats International

The 2 D’s of Disappointment

Anytime a new task came across Tim’s desk, he buried himself on the internet to figure out how to do it. After all, Tim prided himself that he could always figure something new out. Yet simultaneously he would spend five minutes researching then succumb to the “browser effect”. This is when you have some many browser windows open that you’re not even sure where you started.

Then you realize that you’ve wasted two hours getting nothing done. Admit it, at some point, you can relate to this. In the end, this only became a distraction – “D” #1.

Soon, Tim begins to wonder if he can handle the big project meeting coming up. His stomach turns into knots. He’s binging on junk food to make it through the day. He starts to doubt (“D” – #2) his ability to get anything done in a timely manner.

The big client day arrives. Tim walks in a sweaty mess from anxiety on whether he’s prepared enough. The one hour meeting continues for almost three hours hammering outside the different sides of the contract negotiation. Both teams are ravished hungry. Tim thinks all went well.

The next day Tim’s boss calls him into his office. With a calming voice, this boss, Gerald says what’s going on? The client said you spoke gibberish for almost three hours. This was a million dollar contract. We are going to let you go. Tim’s disappointment sets in.

When distraction and doubt combine, it may lead to disappointing outcomes.

To stop this in its tracks, acknowledge when you feel doubtful, don’t be afraid to ask questions or ask for help. When you catch yourself in distraction mode, ask yourself, what’s my priority right now? Then refocus your attention. At some point, we’ve all had doubt or have been distracted, acknowledge what’s happening and redirect your attention. 

Wishing you an abundant, joyful and prosperous day!

Lora Polowczuk
Chief Energy Officer
© Priority Retreats International

Your role in a toxic work environment

Mark Cuban, Dallas Mavericks owner and SharkTank extraordinaire, was hit with devastating news.

The normal straightforward, cut to the bottom-line type of guy experienced his own medicine. Sports Illustrated exposed his team’s “corrosive workplace culture” over a twenty-year span in an article earlier this year.

Yet, here’s what most people are missing in the discussion.

Workplace environment is more than how you treat the other gender or how diversified your workforce is. That’s what the surface level discussion is. This is what’s really going on.

First, people project their subconscious inadequacy on to others. This shows up in a variety of ways.  

A leader is afraid a team member won’t bring the project in on time and thus won’t delegate tasks. The leader does not want to be perceived as having a team that failed at something. This shows employees they are undervalued.

  • When a problem comes up on a project, a leader tells the team what to do instead of allowing the team members to identify and co-create potential solutions. This creates limited visions for problem-solving.
  •  A team-lead yells at a team member for no reason. The team-lead is actually having personal issues at home and takes it out on someone else. Being on the receiving end of someone else’s anger does little for office morale.

 Second, most people tolerate mistreatment.

  • Most people put up with being treated unfairly. Employees fail to teach others how they want to be treated. When this occurs, a leader never even realizes something bad has happened.
  • Employees are more willing to share common issues with fellow employees yet fail to let management know there is an issue. A leader cannot change what they are unaware of. 

Toxic environments come in many forms. We all have work to do here. It’s time to take a deep dive.

 1)      What are you projecting onto other people, at work or at home?

 2)      What behavior do you tolerate? 

Toxic environments come in multiple forms; those who create and those who tolerate it. 

Wishing you an abundant, joyful and prosperous day!

Lora Polowczuk
Chief Energy Officer
© Priority Retreats International

Your life is not in harmony

 

With the fall equinox, it’s a perfect time to examine the balance within all facets of your life.

You strive to have balance in everything you do. Afterall, they say let’s have work, life balance, right? The funny thing is that’s there’s no such thing as balance.

Within everything you do there’s an ebb and flow. No one works exactly eight hours, sleeps eight hours, works out one hour day and spends the rest of their time with loved ones. You only wish that was the case!

Here is where you can start.

Over the summer, something magical was brought to fruition. Something blossomed more than you ever thought it could. You gave a situation, a project or a relationship a little extra love and attention. What can you celebrate?

Best of all, how will you celebrate it? This is such an important step. And, most of you miss it completely. It is time to celebrate all the effort you put in! If you don’t celebrate, you end up cranky and resentful that no one noticed what you did. And, who wants to be a part of that.

On the flip side, there’s also the hard truths. You likely sacrificed parts of your life to make something happen.

There are exactly 99 days left this year.

If you spent 1 hour a day on one project for the next 99 days, you can bring a tremendous amount of progress forward.

What facets of your life can come back into harmony? What areas did you leave in the dark that require extra sun, water, and nourishment right now.

There’s time to end this year on a high note.

At the equinox celebrate the light of your accomplishments and the darkness of where improvements are warranted. 

Wishing you an abundant, joyful and prosperous day!

Lora Polowczuk
Chief Energy Officer
© Priority Retreats International

Got Integrity?

Most people want to believe they are in a high state of integrity.

Tony’s eyes are heavy and his body feels swollen from the junk food he’s consumed all day to keep his energy up. While extremely tired, he starts creating a high-dollar customer proposal at 4:00pm. This was his first opportunity to begin actual work after his meetings were complete.

Ever feel you don’t have time to get the actual work done?

Tony jokingly laughed in his head. Why do I always work on my highest deliverables at the end of the day when I’m not fresh.

He was committed to completing the proposal. He called up his friends and said, he’d miss the pizza and beer guys football night. Secretly, he wanted to hang out with the guys and enjoy some laughs.

Finally, at 9:00pm, he hit the send key and went home. Tony fell asleep on his couch in his suit with a microwave dinner half eaten on the coffee table.

Upon waking the next morning, he checked his email eagerly waiting for a response for the proposal. There it was. He quickly opened the email excited with glee. It read: Thank you Tony for this detailed and well-thought out proposal. One thing we really convey in our culture is that late hours and proposals filled with typos and errors is not how our company functions. While the proposal as a whole looks great, we cannot work with a partner who expects this of us. Thank you for your time.

Tony felt as if a dagger went through his heart.

He sat at his kitchen table struck from the response. He was speechless. After a deep sigh, he said. I’m in integrity with my work yet not any other aspect of my life. This has got to stop.

What are you truly committed to? The busyness? The paycheck?

Will you be in integrity with your highest good? In integrity with your highest potential?

It is time for self-reflection on what integrity in all aspects of your life really means.

Wishing you an abundant, joyful and prosperous day!

Lora Polowczuk
Chief Energy Officer
© Priority Retreats International

Intertwined: Anger, Forgiveness, and Letting Go

As summer winds down and the cool crisp air sets in, what old situations are calling for release?

When we let situations fester, our hearts hurt and build walls of protection. You let nothing in and yet everything you crave and desire comes in. Amazing opportunities sit outside waiting for you to let your barriers down.

Liz and Donna strolled through the park weekly during their lunch break. This was deemed their “Company venting session.” They complained about teammates, bosses, and management. Yet, they never considered changing their approach to a relationship or even thinking about the problem from a different perspective.

Situations that don’t go as expected can leave us frustrated and angry. This pent up anger can then lead to outbursts that end up affecting those around us even though they may not be part of the original situation. When this negative energy continues to dwell on us, it weighs us down.

  • We develop a foul mood.
  • Our bodies become lethargic.
  • We become mentally foggy.
  • We become reactive.
  • We even gain weight.
  • Tension develops in our bodies and muscles and joints may ache.

Sound familiar?

Perhaps you need to forgive yourself for not giving your all to an activity. Perhaps someone didn’t treat you fairly. Maybe you are still carrying a tragic event that happened in your childhood. It sucks when things don’t go your way. How can you forgive those that hurt you?

To release is to let go and forgive.

The question is – what can we learn from it? How do we transform it into making us a better person?

I always say my father’s death as a kid was the best and worst thing that ever happened to me. I now appreciate life and live life to its fullest. Think about how you can transform those bad experiences into something you can learn from.

The full moon later this week always represents the light among the darkness. So, on every full moon. I love to perform this easy, simple ritual. Find a quiet place. Take a few minutes and write down everything you need to release – people, events, situations, etc. Then, burn this piece of paper. (Do this outside your residence and keep water nearby so nothing else catches on fire.)

When you release the old, you allow room for rich new experiences to enter your life. This also gives you more energy for the opportunities headed your way! 

Wishing you an abundant, joyful and prosperous day!

Lora Polowczuk
Chief Energy Officer
© Priority Retreats International

Work Too Much?

Ever thought you work too much? It comes across our minds at some point in our life.

All for what? To create a better life for your kids, families, and significant other.

With the onset of the Labor Movement, children became protected and no longer forced into slave labor. This became the idea behind our Labor Day holiday. 

Yet, for many people, one thing hasn’t changed over the last one hundred plus years. You continue to work long days. 

Yes, you make more than bare minimum wage.

You have a more spacious house. 

You eat better quality food. 

You have access to more information and technology.

The funny thing is this. You can take your six figure plus salary and divide it by your hours working and you’re hourly rate isn’t that high.

You also feel that something valuable is missing. 

Time freedom.

So, what’s really changed since then?

Your ability to choose how you spend your time.

Technology is wonderful. We get more done faster. Yet, it’s also your biggest distraction.

The difference between the successful elite and the six figure stressed out worker is this:

1)      Spend your time and energy on what moves you forward, 

2)      Eliminate distractions, and 

3)      Make better, faster decisions. 

These three play off each other. 

Make daily conscious choices that utilize your time and energy to move you forward. 

Wishing you an abundant, joyful and prosperous day!

Lora Polowczuk
Chief Energy Officer
© Priority Retreats International