Is Your Sun Still Behind The Clouds?

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I’m sure you heard the phrase ‘every cloud has a silver lining’. How do you apply it in your life? I’m asking this because it’s crucial for your mental and emotional health to see this idiom in action every day of your life.

Have you had situations when everything seemed too difficult and unsolvable? Have you been desperate for advice and clarity? I’m sure you have.

Not that long ago I had too many questions about my business and was wondering what I should do. And today everything is clear as day. Solutions didn’t come all at once. Each day brought one or two ideas. One by one puzzles fell into place and formed a clear picture. Sometimes the source of help was a person, other times it was a website or a book. Working together as a team all these helpers led me to new decisions and new strategies.

Today I was walking to my usual place to see the sunrise. It’s my new favorite habit. I wake up earlier, do some reading and if it’s not my running day, I go to the lake where the sunrise can be visible. So, when I was walking there, the sun was hiding behind the clouds. The lining wasn’t silver though. It was golden! And it was gorgeous! You could still see the sun. Kind of.

So, when I got to a cafe to get my latte, I looked through the window and couldn’t keep my eyes open. The clouds parted and the sun was shining brightly.

Our life is the same. Sometimes we need to wait for the clouds to part and for the sun to shine on our path and show us the way.

Tell me in the comments, have you ever experienced anything similar?

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Do You Still Rush while Traveling?

img_5136Sometimes I have a bad habit when traveling to new places. I run around trying to capture everything on my iPhone camera which is far from perfect. The desire to save this moment of beauty for future enjoyment is inspired by the magnificence of the view. Although, what I don’t realize it might be worth it to just stop and take in all the exquisiteness I’m surrounded with.

Perhaps, if I remember to enjoy every possible moment, the imprint of it in my memory would be much brighter than the photo. Don’t take me wrong, I admire photographers and their amazing ability to see the world. It’s my own way of rushing through life and its beauty that I sometimes regret.

Not that long ago I came back from the trip to Europe. We visited 5 countries in 10 days and got to see a lot of fascinating places. Unfortunately, I had to limit the number of excursion I went to due to the amount of work that had to be done while being on the trip.  However, it turned out to be a great blessing for me.

I had a chance to take a break from all the sightseeing, go sit at a cafe and enjoy my quiet computer work while observing people around me. My first such experience was in Prague.

jan HusHave you ever been to Prague? The Old Town Square and Charles Bridge create the illusion of being in a fairy-tale. The old astronomical clock is right there, around the corner playing its music every hour. The statue of Jan Hus impresses you with its seriousness and grandeur.

Two in Prague

A group of students gathered in the middle of the square deciding what to do next. Two young men found a place on the ground and placed their beer and food between them on the curb. Their relaxed postures exude freedom and independence.

Then we were in Strasbourg, France. We had a few hours in the city, and I was lucky to find a nice little cafe outside with chairs facing a picturesque bridge. Two young women probably in their 30s were having a glass of wine at a café. They had come there by bikes which means they’re most likely local.

There’s a muslim couple carrying big bags and arguing about something. They had just been to a mall and probably bought a few new clothes. A man with a backpack walked by – he’s definitely a tourist slowly looking around, taking it all in, enjoying the old city of Strasbourg.

After that we went to Geneva and Zurich, then Salzburg, Vienna and Budapest. And every city gave me an opportunity to find a quiet place to work while observing people and enjoying local cappuccino or a glass of wine.

22053071_10155717220076613_1973212020_nHave you ever thought why we love to watch other people so much? What is it about seeing them interact with each other that fascinates us so much? It’s incredibly interesting! It’s like real life TV. And every person has a story to tell.

Next time you’re traveling, try not to rush from one landmark to another with a camera, but stop somewhere and simply observe people. Give them a chance to share their stories with you. You will be surprised how much you can learn from and get inspired by those stories. Your life will become richer, deeper and much more interesting.

Now it’s your turn. Tell me, do you travel fast or slowly? What do you like to do the most when you’re in a new place?

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My friend Maia spotted me with a camera in a cafe in Zurich.

What’s It Like To Be Colorblind?

5181903845_121bf85bc4Once I heard Tony Robbins do an interesting exercise with his audience. A few days later I tried it with several different groups too. Here’s how it goes: first, you look around and take notice of everything brown. Then you’re asked to close your eyes and remember everything green or blue. Usually it’s hard to remember what you weren’t paying attention to. You might think of a few green things but definitely not everything because when you looked around, all you fixed your eyes on was of the brown color.

There are three main conclusions I want to draw from this exercise.

1. How we see our life.

Some people live their life seeing only brown, grey and black colors around them. What’s even sadder, they constantly blame others for that or even the whole world for lacking bright colors.  It’s easy for such people to see the negative and the wrong, to notice failures, faults and problems. On the other hand, it’s hard for them to see the good in people. It’s terribly difficult to notice opportunities, potential and success.

I hope it’s not about you. I pray you learn to see the silver lining in every cloud. It might not be easy at times, but as soon as you open your eyes and choose to see the bright colors, you will see them.

2. How we live our life.

Another important point is that we hurry through our life and forget to notice the beauty. We fixate on the wrong things. We worship productivity and strive to be achievers of this world. Is that what life is all about? Unfortunately, there are so many people around us who spend their days working from 9 to 5 and hate their job. They get up every morning counting hours and days till the weekend or vacation.

Let me ask you something, do you remember the color of yesterday’s sunset? Or all you can remember is the screen of your computer, the colors of your TV or the glare of your smartphone?

     3. How thankful we are.

I once saw the video of a colorblind dad who received a birthday gift – the glasses that let him see colors. When he put them on and saw the color of his kids’ eyes for the first time he started crying. And I started crying with him. This man has never seen the sky in all its beauty. His world was different from mine, but suddenly everything changed. He saw what he had never seen before, and his heart was filled with gratitude and joy.

How often am I thankful for the ability to see the world in all its colors, the way it meant to be, the way it was created? My mom is a diabetic and has lost almost all her eye-sight. Her one eye is completely blind, and her other eye can only see 5%. And she is thankful for these 5%! She can at least see something, and she is incredibly thankful!

What can we do about it?

  • Let’s try to see the good in people even if they hurt and wronged us.
  • Let’s count blessings every day and see the opportunities in every challenge, trial or drawback.
  • Let’s slow down in the craziness of this world and enjoy the beauty of our life.
  • Let’s never take anything for granted and be thankful for every little thing.

Now it’s your turn. Tell me in the comments what is hardest for you – to see the good in people or situations, to stop and notice the beauty in our hectic world or to always be grateful? What’s most challenging for you?

How to Become a Marathoner

TUK_2301Have you ever wondered if running a marathon or at least a 10K is for you? I want to assure you – yes it is. If you think you can’t do it, I have good news for you, my friend. Anybody can do it with enough motivation and training.

Almost 6 years ago my friend encouraged me to run a marathon. “No way!”, I said to him then. Little did I know that one year later he would be meeting me at the finish line of my first marathon in rainy Venice.

So, what do you need to run your first marathon? I will share 5 most important points with you. In the same way, you can apply them to a half-marathon or any other race. As a matter of fact, it’s much wiser to start with an easier race than 26 miles. So, let’s dive in.

1. Motivation

If you’ve ever tried to accomplish anything without motivation, you know how hard it may be. You could force yourself, but it won’t last long. Eventually, you will say to yourself – enough, I’m done with this. Motivation is what keeps us going. It’s like fuel for a car or power for a computer.

Find your motivation. Would you like to lose weight and feel more confident about the way you look? Or maybe, you have been running for years, and now you feel like it’s time to take it to another level? Perhaps, you’re like me, and you need an upcoming race to motivate you to run every day. Whatever it is that drives you, use it for your benefit. Take advantage of it and let it motivate you to start preparing for your first marathon.

Strangely enough, but my decision to run that first marathon was motivated by the desire to show my boyfriend that I can. I was also desperately trying to connect with him and running was our common interest. Paradoxically, we broke up two days after the race, but I am still thankful to him for inspiring me to run a marathon. It was an incredible experience and honestly, it got me addicted. There’s nothing like the feeling of crossing the finish line and hearing the cheer of hundreds of people you don’t even know!!!

2. A race planned

Frankly speaking, I am not a very disciplined person. I always strive to be one, but it doesn’t come easy. So, getting myself out of bed and out of the apartment to go for a run is a constant struggle. There’s one huge motivation that helps me get into running clothes and get out of the door – a future marathon or a half-marathon.

My friend Debbie and I love traveling to different cities and countries to run races. It’s our way of seeing the world and experience new cultures. Moreover, it’s a great motivator for me – if we have a race scheduled, I know I have to train for it.

LGC_5132Therefore, after you got your motivation to become a marathoner, you need to plan a race. First of all, check if there’s one nearby. Probably, there’s a marathon or a half coming up in your own city. Otherwise, look through possibilities to travel within your country or even abroad. Believe me, it’s going to be a fascinating adventure for you and those you’ll be traveling with.

 3. Training for a race

As soon as you have a race scheduled, it’s time to start training for it. There are lots of different training plans for beginners. If you can’t find anything decent, message me, and I will send you the plan I was using for many years. It’s doable even for those who don’t like to run much, but would love to finish a marathon.

Training for a race is extremely important even if you don’t care about the result, but only hope to finish. Your legs and your whole body are most likely not used to such extreme challenge. You need to train your muscles, your core and your legs so that on the race day you can endure pain and fatigue.

Don’t try to run without preparation. You might be able to accomplish it, but the consequences will show themselves much later.

4. Clothes

When I first started running, I didn’t think much about clothes. I grabbed the first thing that looked like it was for fitness, put it on and went out. Later, when my milage started growing, I realised how crucial it was to wear the right shoes and the right clothes.

For instance, if you run in a cotton T-shirt or shorts made of natural fabric, you might have bloody wounds on your skin after 40-60 min of running. It turns out to avoid chafing you should run in clothes made of wicking material. It will absorb moisture and won’t rub your skin creating sores.

Similarly, you should be careful with what type of running shoes you’re wearing. A lot of people try minimalist shoes nowadays. I am a big fan of my 4 mm heel drop shoes – they are light, easy to run in and have helped me avoid injury for 5 years already. There’s so much to talk about when it comes to clothes and shoes. So, I might write a separate blog just about that. The story of my experiment with “barefoot” running is worth telling.

5. Food

When you’re preparing for a race, it’s very important to watch what you eat. First and foremost, fat, greasy food should be avoided. It’s bad for us even if we’re not going to run a marathon. Next, you need to make sure you have a balanced diet – protein, unsaturated fats, carbohydrates, necessary minerals and vitamins.

TUK_2108Also, when your race day is approaching, it’s important to train your body to eat the same food before the long run. In this case you will know what to expect when you have the same meal the evening before your marathon. Usually people try to eat carbs (pasta, not greasy pizza) the evening before and something light in the morning. A piece of white bread with jam or honey and a banana for breakfast have worked miracles for me.

Another thing to remember is fuelling during your marathon. If you’re going to run a 5K or a 10K, even a half-marathon, you might be ok without any food during the race. However, if you plan to run 26 miles (42 km), it’s important to have special energy gels or bars along with you. Don’t forget to try them during your training. Your body should be used to them and not surprise you with sudden cramps at the race.

Bringing it all together

In conclusion, running a marathon is an incredible adventure that is totally worth our efforts. When you cross the finish line, the feeling of relief, accomplishment and personal victory will be a great reward for everything that you have to endure.

Do You Have a Mentor?

I love discovering new interesting people who I can learn from. We all know how important it is to have a mentor if we want to grow personally constantly. As for me, I don’t have a real mentor even though all my friends teach me something. It’s a great honor and pleasure to learn from them since each one of my closest friends is an incredibly intelligent person.

I am proud to say that all my friends constantly feed my brain with ideas and help me grow although they are not really my mentors, they are my friends.

There are several people who I can call virtual mentors. Jeff Walker and Marie Forleo have been such people for me in the last few years. Their experience and wisdom helped me understand a lot about business. Their weekly and sometimes daily videos gave me a chance to learn from them on a regular basis.

Recently I’ve discovered several new people who started inspiring me even more: Michael Hyatt, Rory Vaden, Simon Sinek. All these successful entrepreneurs and fascinating personalities  have a message to convey and an experience to share. Why not use the opportunity that our online world gives us?

Who are your mentors? Is it somebody you know personally or virtually? Can you advice an interesting public figure who helped you grow personally and professionally?

 

Judge or Not Judge?

HW8_7804Why is it so hard not to judge people? Why do we have such an obsessive need to express our opinions even if nobody cares and nobody wants to hear them?

About a decade ago I used to think that being opinionated is cool. One of my closest friends called me opinionated, and I was almost proud of that. But times change, and it sounds almost like an insult now.

There are three facts that I want to say about judging others.

  1. We can’t help it.

Is it in our nature? I want to say – no, but unfortunately, I can’t. We were not created with this need to judge everybody. However, we were created with the free will to whether say what we think or keep silent. And our twisted human nature just can’t let us be silent. Our twisted mind can’t help it. Whether out loud or in our head, we start judging and spraying poison onto our relationships.

2. We even love it.

Recently, an old classic best-seller caught my attention, and I decided to finally read it. I am sure you’ve heard about it – it’s Dale Carnegie’s How to Win Friends and Influence People. He wrote this book in 1930s, and the lessons from it are still relevant. He talks a lot about the human nature and emphasizes that we’re all selfish. Each person spends 95% of the day thinking about him- or herself. Most of us love the sound of our own name and prefer talking about ourselves rather than listening to others.

So, to sum up, we love ourselves more than anything. We care about our needs, desires and opinions more than about anybody in the whole world. And sometimes it all turns into judgement of others. And then this judgement turns into gossiping. And we start savoring it, enjoying it, like it’s the most delectable dish we’ve ever eaten in our life.

3. We should stop it.

How can we stop it? Is it even possible? Maybe it’s hard to stop doing it completely, but we should at least try. And then try again. And after the next failure we will not give up, but try once more. And it will work. With God’s help, we can fight it and defeat it!

I know, we can’t do it alone, but we can help each other. If you hear me being judgmental, say it directly to my face. Especially when I judge those who judge, because that’s my problem. I judge judgmental people and can’t help it. It poisons my mood and darkens my days. Help me fight it and join this battle together with me!

Happy Women’s Day!

It’s an International Women’s Day today. Did you know? The world is celebrating all women, not just mothers, and it’s a great thing. No offense to you, guys. Men are very important, but we’ve known that already, right? The majority of cultures in the world are patriarchal, so men established their influence and importance long time ago. Although, women started defending their rights only in the past few decades.

I wish all women to believe in their great potential, wonderful gifts and talents, abilities and strengths. I wish us all to unleash our creativity, use our potential and do our best to change this world for better. Steve Jobs said that only those who are crazy enough to think they can change the world are the ones who do. I believe we can, ladies! Let’s do it!

I wish all men to appreciate their women, see their wonderfulness, and regularly tell them about it. Let her blossom! If your woman flourishes, your life will change, and your success will soar! I dare you to try.