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Real commitments

Leo strived everyday to be the best for his company. he was known as the “Get it Done” guy in management.  He was known as the guy who could get any project back on track. Yet, at what cost?

While confident in his ability to do anything, how he did it royally pissed people off. His staff felt the need to absorb his verbal out lashes since his track record and building the business soared.

Every year, Leo got huge bonuses and knocked off another accomplishment to his resume.

A new CEO came on board and looked into why certain employees got sick, which in the long run cost the company millions. Most of these employees worked on Leo’s projects. The stress and verbal abuse came at a hidden cost.

The CEO asked Leo, what’s the top three values he strives for in any interaction with his teams. Leo stood their star struck. His body tensed up. He didn’t know what to say. It quickly came up with be on time, budget and resource.

​​​​​​​CEO shook his head. That’s the outcome. How do you show up as a person? Are you demanding yet helpful? Are you caring?

Leo relaxed and fell back into the chair. He never thought about this. Leo only thought of himself as the highly sought after Project Lead and husband to his wife.

He mixed up an accomplishment identity for who he really was. He showed up as an unthoughtful jerk ready to steam roll over anyone in his way.

The CEO said your next raise depends on the three words you choose to show up in your interactions with others. You will  be rated on if your team believes you show up in this manner.

Too many of us lead with an accomplishment identity and forget who we really are in how we show up everyday.

Real commitment is showing up as your best self.  Don’t have an accomplishment identity.

As you plan the next 90 days on your life, career, and relationships, how will you live into your words in how you show up? Do this and you’ll have miraculous results. 

Wishing you an abundant, joyful and prosperous day!

Lora Polowczuk
Chief Energy Officer
© Priority Retreats International

Where intention meets action

It was December 2017. Dazed and confused, I looked up at the departure board at Denver Airport. After almost four months of travel, leaving every week and a half for a new destination, I could not remember which city I was traveling to this time. I’d been to Seattle, Phoenix, San Jose, San Diego, and even to India twice.

A little voice in my head said, this has got to stop!

With a deep sigh, I asked myself what was the purpose of this trip, hoping it would jog my memory on where I was going.

Yes! Now I remember. I am heading home for an early Christmas on the east coast with my family. Jezz….Definitely a brain fart type of moment.

With a giant smile on my face, I realized this was the last trip I had planned for the year.  After the plane took off, I took out my journal.

What do I want in 2018?

1)      Identify the root cause of why I was on supplements and get off supplements.

Reason: I was too young to be on all these supplements at my age. 

2)      Be more selective in my travels.

Reason: I’m more effective if I deep dive in certain areas instead of being spread thin. I decided to only travel for fun for the first three months of 2018.

By April 2018, a team of health practitioners identified the root cause of my underlying health issues, heavy metal toxicity. With faith in non-ordinary treatments and following some strict protocols, I fully got off got off supplements a year and a half later. The universe doesn’t always give you the timeline you want. The more important part was that I got the results I wanted!  (More on that story another day.)

The remainder of the year consisted of very selected business travels. I made my health my number 1 priority. I can only serve others when I’m feeling healthy and energetic myself.

What does this mean to you?

The time to plan 2020 is now. As we enter the last month of this decade, it’s more than planning for the next year. It’s about planning for the next decade.

How can you make 2020 the best decade of your life?

For 2020, how can you make 2020 the best year of your life?

“When you take action with a clear intention, the universe will conspire to make it happen.”

This comes down to a simple formula: Intention + Action + Faith = Magical Results

​​​​​​​Wishing you an abundant, joyful and prosperous day!

Lora Polowczuk
Chief Energy Officer
© Priority Retreats International

The one thing you forget to be thankful for

How many of you are thankful for the unpleasant moments in your life?

Harriet yelled at John in front of twenty members of the executive team. The room fell silent witnessing this spectacular outburst from a C-Suite Executive. The silence was so strong you could hear a phone vibrate with notifications

John’s face swelled with hues of pink while he attempted to maintain composure from the verbal attack. It took every ounce of strength to not get angry back at Harriet. In his mind, he thought, one day this will be a pivotal moment in my life. He took his seat waiting for the rest of the meeting to end.

Later that day, John started listing everything he had done for the company. And, better yet, what suggestions he made that Harriet never agreed to. That day, became the day he would start his own company with the culture he wanted to instill and challenge staff to a new level.

John took anger and transformed it into a meaningful step forward.

That Thanksgiving, he gave thanks for a horrible and humiliating experience. This allowed him to truly propel forward to where he wanted to go. The next steps were uncertain. His heart was strong. His passion was big.

This Thanksgiving:

Be thankful for the bad experiences for this taught you what not to do.

Be thankful for the unpleasant people for they teach you how to show up in the world.

Be thankful for the body injury for it taught you to appreciate life.

Be thankful for the burnout, it taught you why self-care is important.

Be thankful for the failed projects, it taught you movement is more important than doing nothing.

Be thankful for the unfriendly relationship, it taught you how to communicate.

Be thankful for the embarrassing situation, it taught you how to laugh at yourself.
And, most of all, remember this, “Only those who dare to fail greatly can ever achieve greatly.” – Robert F. Kennedy

Fail fast. Fail often. Integrate. Be thankful you made a move, even if the outcome wasn’t what you wanted. 

May you receive abundant blessings this Thanksgiving!

Wishing you an abundant, joyful and prosperous day!

Lora Polowczuk
Chief Energy Officer
© Priority Retreats International

This causes pain

Chad excited for his promotion got to work early. His role of Director came with the pay raise and corner office he always desired. The extra money would allow for house upgrades his wife had been wanting for years.

With enthusiasm setting the tone, Chad couldn’t wait to hold his first staff meeting and propose a vision for his department.

One by one, his department colleagues came into work. Each brought a slight curious anticipation about what changes the new leader may make. Within thirty minutes of his last departmental colleague’s arrival, Chad’s stomach began to churn. He was reluctant to organize a meeting.

He began to question whether his new direction would be right. Would his team fully embrace the direction shift he wanted to propose and implement. Given his emotional status, Chad thought it would be better tomorrow once everyone’s emotions settled down.

Day by day, he kept putting the meeting off.

Then, a week went by.

Then, a month.

Suddenly he was called into the Vice President’s office.

The Vice President asked what the issue was in implementing the changes. Chad could barely look the VP in the eye. His words turned into a mumble on why he hesitated to implement. With anxiety worsening, Chad called in sick the next day.

Hesitation causes pain.

What’s one small step you can take today?

Make a courageous choice and take that step today.

Wishing you an abundant, joyful and prosperous day!

Lora Polowczuk
Chief Energy Officer
© Priority Retreats International

Take responsibility

As we tap into the final months of 2019, you must remember one key thing.

You co-create your own reality.

Allison loved helping her child. It made her warm and fuzzy on the inside. Yet, her daughter, Tulip, always waited until the last minute to write her papers for school. And, Allison, was always right there to review and read it at 1am or sometimes later at night.

Life started to change. Allison started taking on new responsibilities at work. Her excitement to utilize her talents and apply them in new ways brought immense joy to her. After years of being underutilized, she was finally seeing her career and skills take off. Alison exuberant with glee couldn’t wait to get to work every morning. She imagined buying her first home once she received a promotion.

Then, as a classic teenager, Tulip, said “hey Mom, tonight I’m working on my final paper for the semester. Will you help me with it?” This time, Allison, said, “No, I’m not staying up late to review this. You’ve had two weeks to complete this and I’m no longer your scapegoat.” Tulip stood there in shock, almost horrified. Allison, said, it’s time you take responsibility to get your work done in a timely manner. I’m happy to help. Staying up late affects my own performance at work the next day and tomorrow is the culmination of a nine month project at work with a big client.

From that day forward, Tulip realized a valuable lesson. It was up to her to get her own projects done on time. Alison created her own reality to teach responsibility to her child while maintaining her own responsibility to herself.

The choices you make dictate your reality. Set boundaries and create the reality you want for yourself and others.

Wishing you an abundant, joyful and prosperous day!

Lora Polowczuk
Chief Energy Officer
© Priority Retreats International

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