Anita Kozlowski’s Journey to Mastery
I had always wanted to be independent, free from the system and able to determine my own paycheck and my own destiny. As you may already guess, I freedom has been one of my core values.
Since my childhood in Poland, which was a part of the Eastern block, I felt the deep need for autonomy and freedom to expand my full potential as a human being.
To me, living with power means living as an autonomous, authentic human, able to determine the direction and quality of my own life, in service to others, and happy doing it.
I always felt the passion for helping others which led me to study Psychology and Human behaviour.
When I found the traditional methods imprecise, I embarked on a journey which led me to pure NLP and Richard Bandler, and Ericksonian hypnosis, which I recognized as the ultimate vehicles to transform oneself and others, through the most precise human transformation system on the planet.
When I have completed my training, I spent two years recreating the system for myself, having also discovered many fundamental principles behind success as a human being and as a business person.
I had no idea how challenging the process of transition from a student to an entrepreneur would be and what it would take for me to transform, within myself, to succeed.
My purpose here is to share with you the wisdom I collected along my tedious and hard journey, so that you will achieve your goals without the struggle I had to go through, to succeed. If you follow these principles, you will succeed and gain the freedom I am now enjoying.
Here are some of the key pillars of success
1. You are the CEO of your own life and the main character inside the story you had created about yourself.
What you believe about yourself, on a deep unconscious level, determines the kind of life you create for yourself. If you believe you are insignificant and worthless, you will have created results worthy of someone who believes they are worthless and insignificant.
Your financial success is a direct reflection of what you believe about yourself. I realized this principle when my financial outcomes would vary from high income to virtually none. The times it dropped coincided with my drop in self esteem, usually governed by some external circumstances which had nothing to do with who I was.
An example of such a circumstance was criticism coming from someone I cared about.
When I realized I were not someone else’s behaviors, words, beliefs and attitude, I gained freedom from defining myself by others’ negativity. I had a choice to become an observer, holistically grounded within myself, and free from reactivity, which indirectly always means surrendering to the outside influence.
If you take this position for yourself, you will have freed an enormous amount of emotional energy you can immediately use to become creative with your life.
Being a CEO of your own life means looking at your life as a business. You are in the business of living, are you not? This means examining where you are gaining assets and where are you losing? Assets are things you learn, master, and which contribute to your experience. Each moment is your opportunity to be happy and creative.
How much time have you squandered on unhappiness? Being a CEO of your own life means being accountable for your emotional investment and your results. This means being able to create healthy boundaries around yourself, recognizing that a “no” is a powerful word, which simultaneously delineates the “yes”.
Becoming a CEO of your life means saying “yes” to relationships that build you up and activities that enhance your expression as an ultimate being. It also means being able to say “no” to people and situations that consume your energy. Being a CEO of your own life means asking yourself the ultimate question; “Am I the way I know I know I could be”?
2. Your business is a living, breathing organism that needs to be supported by a vision, which translates into goals
Your business is an extension of yourself and a bridge between yourself and the world at large. This is the place where you exchange services and ideas to be reciprocated by an income, which ideally should be gladly generated through grateful and happy clients who become your loyal advocates. Your business is an expression of your vision for yourself and others.
I believe we are here to serve, and your business is the vehicle to serve others in a meaningful way.
It needs to translate your own core values into the service or a product. To do that you need to be able to get out of your way and step into the shoes of your client, asking; “what do they need from me to feel significant or hopeful or just happy or healthy, etc.?” When your business is about the other person, reciprocity comes back in the form of income.
In my industry, many believe, knowledge is to be hoarded.
I believe knowledge is to be shared and as you share, you learn and generate more knowledge. I am a therapist, a coach a, facilitator, and a trainer and quickly realized that I am in a constant learning mode, and every client teaches me something.
I am open to learning only when I fully share everything I know to the best of my ability. Something magical happens in that space. It becomes a co-created mutually expanding reality. I concluded I can be my best only when I help others become their best.
3. Without a vision you perish
Your vision is your Why, the driving engine for your results. If you do not have a compelling Why, you will not sustain the inevitable challenges.
Your Why needs to be strong enough to sustain you during the times of “drought”, the times when everyone doubts you, and when you are so tired you can barely get out of bed. I remember times when everyone said I was crazy to continue my path, when clients did not show up due to economic downturn, and when my personal life was particularly challenging, or when self doubt kicked in.
My vision was the only thing that kept me going, and in it I found my freedom. Your vision must become your safe place, a home where you can refuel yourself and find the resources to keep on going. If you don’t have a vision for your life and your business, now is a good time to start formulating one.
It will have become the foundation for your goals and the source of your life purpose. It will have become intimately linked to your identity, and suddenly you will have found yourself living in alignment with who you are.
4. Be a leader. You cannot do it alone and you cannot depend upon others to do it for you.
I quickly found out I were very good at certain things such as creating a vision, setting goals and generating creative energy propel me forward. I also realized I had to find a good team whose expertise would allow me to express my skills.
I found great technical support and sound technicians. I surrounded myself with positive humans who were willing to listen to my ides and give me their impartial opinion. I also realized I couldn’t completely depend only on others to bring my vision to fruition.
I had to take on a leadership position where I would inspire them to bring their best forward, supporting me in turning my vision into reality. I had to understand what they were to do, direct the effort, and give them space to do their job.
Being a leader is about inspiring others to do their best for you, trusting them with it. It also means letting go of your need for control, while being aware of what is going on.
It also means bringing everyone to your vision and creating excitement about where you are going. Becoming a leader is about personal evolution. You must transcend your fears and inner sense of inadequacy. You must have faith in yourself and be committed to your vision and be able to convey this to others.
You must be able to communicate clearly and with passion. You must also be fair and compassionate within the boundaries you set around your vision. If your vision is to become the most inspirational personal development company, you must not tolerate team members who do not support it. Saying “no” is critically important.
5. Your Beliefs are the building blocks of your reality. Here are some beliefs that became the core of my success:
• There are no failures, only lessons
Successful people do not believe in failure. Failure is not a part of their vocabulary. When things do not go the way, they expected, they evaluate the situation, examine what worked and what didn’t, learn from the experience, redesign their strategy, and move on empowered by the lesson. Successful people always look for new ways to get better results.
Results are just reflections of your strategies.
We always get some sort of result. The quality of our results directly depends upon the quality of our strategies. The quality of a strategy has nothing to do with who we are. A lot of people make a critical mistake. They equate an undesirable result with personal inadequacy.
They become a “failure”. But failure is just a label. Imagine a child learning to walk. If the child accepted the concept of failure, he or she would never attempt to take another step. The child would never learn to walk, discouraged by the fall, feeling incapable of learning.
This lesson applies to business. When things go well, learn from the experience, and repeat the strategy that led you to success.
When things do not go the way, you want them to go, reevaluate your strategy and change the part that didn’t work. It’s that simple. I do this all the time. When I operate my business, I closely examine the language I use when talking to myself. I change this language to success syntax. I reject ineffective words that are just labels anyway. I reject “failure”, “inability”, “difficulty”, “problems”, “depression”, “sadness”, and the notion that something or someone did something to me.
I am in charge, I am a learning machine, I am capable and powerful, I am in control and able to change my outcomes, I can change my feelings, I can change my beliefs, I can redesign my life. In other words, I CAN., CAN YOU?
• Everything happens for a reason and the reason is to help us
Successful people always look for possibilities in every situation. They look at life as a series of lessons and opportunities to learn something new, even when they experience the most adverse situations. When I think of successful people, I often think of Terry Fox.
Terry Fox was Canadian teenager, a great athlete with aspirations to study in a top US college, on a track scholarship. One day Terry was diagnosed with bone cancer.
His left leg was amputated below the knee, his athletic career was over. Terry had every reason to give up. Instead, he turned his misfortune into an opportunity. He decided he would run across Canada raising funds for cancer research. When asked about his decision to undertake such a challenge, he said that his cancer gave him an opportunity to help other cancer sufferers.
Terry’s journey began on the east coast. Because he had a prosthesis, his gait was awkward and his tempo slow.
Even though he had only one leg, he ran a marathon distance every day. People began to cheer him on as he ran through all weather conditions, enduring huge physical pain. Terry did not finish his run. Half- way his cancer reappeared as lung cancer.
Even though he didn’t complete the run, he raised millions of dollars for cancer research and became a hero and a face of hope to millions of people around the world.
Since his death in 1980, every year millions of dollars are raised through “Terry Fox” races organized in every large Canadian city. The legacy of Terry Fox lives on. He is an example of a true winner. Take a moment to examine your beliefs.
Take a closer look at a particularly challenging situation in your life or your business. Yes! That one. You know which one it is. Is there anything positive in the situation?
If the situation happened in the past, ask yourself, what was a good thing that came from this experience? I believe that all situations contain the seeds of opportunity. I once had a business partner who did not fulfill his end of a bargain.
A significant amount of money was lost. At a time, I was very angry and disappointed. In retrospect, I am satisfied. I learned something about reading people.
I know I will never make the same mistake again, a great lesson when large amounts of money are involved. In the long term, I am better off with this experience.
Once you have decided to adopt a belief that every situation contains a seed of success, you will find out how easy it is for you to make positive changes in your life and in your business.
• I create everything that occurs in my life
This belief may be the hardest to accept. You may ask yourself, “How did I create that accident, or a crash on the stock exchange, or any other misfortune I had no control over?”
Successful people are not immune to misfortunes. They simply place themselves in the center of the situation, taking a position that whatever happens they are in charge of changing the outcome. They refuse to accept a notion of helplessness.
They refuse to passively accept the position that something or someone did anything to them. Even in the most adverse circumstances, they know they can control something and have a choice to take action to turn the situation to a positive outcome…
I have read stories of concentration camp survivors. Most of them credit their survival to being able to maintain a positive outlook. Some said that amidst the horrors, they felt a sense of overwhelming peace and discovered true nobility in the human spirit. They spoke of acts of heroism on the part of their friends, acts of mercy, and opportunities to test their own strength under the most adverse circumstances.
Following their liberation, many made successful careers. Successful people remain in full control. They take the position that they are the creators of their world and they can change their reality. They know they are in charge of their brains and in charge of their reality. It does not mean they are immune to pain. It means they take charge when challenges occur. Thus, they have the strength to move on.
• Work is fun
Successful people love what they do. Even though they spend a lot of time on their endeavors, they do not view work as a chore.
They have fun doing what they do. Ask any great performer or a billionaire businessman what is the one critical component of their success.
Every single time, they will tell you that they have fun doing what they do. They are happy to get up every morning and cannot wait to attend to their business. Some of them don’t want to take holidays because they enjoy their work so much.
Successful people feel inspired by their work.
Successful people are continually upgrading themselves, learning new things about their business, trying new ways to do it better.
They do not differentiate between their lives and their work. They view their work as their lives. I love m work. I find it to be a continuous source of inspiration. My curiosity about what I was about to discover carried me through the most difficult times.
• The Key to Successful Organizations – Teamwork is Power
Successful organizations value their people.
They consider people working for them to be their greatest asset, the key to the organization’s success. They treat employees as success partners.
Successful organizations invest in their employees, bringing out the best in them. They train their employees and create opportunities for them to grow. I once read a book, “In Search of Excellence”, by Thomas Peters and Robert H. Waterman.
They describe the key factors behind successful organizations. They have found that passionate attention to people was one of the most critical aspects of these organizations’ cultures. One such an organization is the Marriott hotel chain. Marriott’s top management values input from every single member of the “Marriott team”. The CEO visits the hotels’ kitchens, talks to cooks, bell people, chambermaids, everyone.
At Christmas, the whole organization celebrates together, creating the spirit of cooperation and cohesion. This is how I treat people who work for me. My assistants are my team. When you have employees, treat them like equal team members. I guarantee, you will get many dividends from this approach.
• Commitment is the key to your success
The most essential belief held by all successful people is that there is no success without commitment.
Commitment comes from an unfaltering belief in the desired outcome. When I talk with some of the most successful people on this planet, they tell me that in their minds, the outcome they envision “is already a fact”, long before it is manifested in the physical world. They fill in the blanks between now and the goal that already exists.
They create the reality long before it shows up. This takes us back to the vision board I described earlier.
Successful people share the “no matter what” attitude. No matter how hard it may be, no matter what challenges may occur, they persevere. Nothing comes between them and their dreams. They are totally committed to their results.
One of my favorite stories to illustrate this point is that of Rudolf Nureyev. He was one of the most famous ballet dancers in modern history.
The Story of Rudolf Nureyev-From a farm boy to a ballet superstar
Rudolf was born in Siberia, hardly a cultural center of the world. His family was uneducated and not appreciative of ballet, which they considered flimsy.
Young Rudolf enrolled in the local school of dance and practiced intensely. One day he went to St. Petersburg to audition for a position in the world-famous Kirov school of ballet. Despite his lack of superior training, he displayed a quality that caught the eye of the school director.
Rudolf was admitted despite the school staff’s reservations, some said he would be out before the end of the first semester. Rudolf practiced day and night and became a principal dancer of the company. His next dream was to escape Russian communism and live in a free country.
One day, when the ballet company was boarding a plane in Paris, he run from the group, straight into the arms of the French police, exclaiming that he was defecting. Despite the political upheaval his escape created, Rudolf won his freedom. He became a ballet icon, a master studied by thousands of aspiring principal dancers around the world. He also became a symbol of freedom. He did whatever “it took”.
Because successful people equate their work with play, they find it easy to do “whatever it takes”. Enjoyment is the key to their attitude. I also love my work and adopted a “whatever it takes” attitude.
When I establish a goal, I ask myself if it is congruent with my vision. Both my vision and my goals must pass my “ecological test”. Is it good for me? Is it good for other people? Is it good for the world at large?” If a goal does not meet all these criteria, I discard it… In my view, whatever I do must be good for myself, for others and the world in general. I will never pursue a goal that is harmful for others.
I believe I can do anything I want. I have a powerful vision, a set of clearly defined goals, and I have strategies and specific tactics to meet my goals.
Once I achieve a goal, I celebrate. Celebration is a powerful component of my life. When I celebrate I anchor good feelings to my outcome, I reward myself for work well done. Feeling great, I am motivated to pursue another goal, and another. I always have something I look forward to celebrating. Celebrate your successes, give yourself a good pat on the back, feel great about yourself. This will make success taste even sweeter.
I am fully committed to having the best life I can create. Do you have the same commitment? Are you willing to do whatever it takes to achieve your dreams? What are you willing to do for your dreams? What are you not willing to do?
My life is also centered around spiritual connection. Without it you are lacking the backbone to support you during the times of difficulty. I am excited about where you are going and where your journey will take you. I hope my words of experience may have expedited your process of getting where you want to be.
Remember, life is a journey and you are on it. It is a lot easier if you enjoy every step of the way. I know I do.