Pursuing your passions

Archive for the ‘Self-Awareness’ Category

Published Article

Here is a link to an article I just had published in an online magazine:

Family Mirror

It Really Is About the Journey

Stephen Nawotniak set out in May of 2000 to prove that Millenials were not all apathetic and lazy. He had planned a twenty-seven month non-motorized trek around the United States, doing community service along the way. He called this Generation TreX and even designed a Master’s Degree program around it through Buffalo State College. He obtained partial funding through Americorps.


The canoe and the sloop

The canoe and the sloop




He canoed from Buffalo, NY to Albany, NY, then sailed down the Hudson River in a sloop to New York City. From there, he backpacked to Roanoke, VA and then bicycled to Key West, FL. At that point he learned his grandmother had passed away and he had to return home. That was in January of 2001. This forced him to revise his plans for the trip. He needed to raise additional money so he focused on updating his website, securing speaking engagements, and began developing a nonprofit agency.


hiking and biking

hiking and biking

Just when he was preparing to start on the next leg of his trek, September 11, 2001 struck. Stephen shifted his focus to addressing the wound this left by creating a violence prevention program through his nonprofit. It was called ACT on Violence Prevention and it focused on self-defense programs. He partnered with Americorps VISTA and the program was well received in Buffalo, NY communities.


Then in August of 2002 Stephen was hospitalized for acute depression and was given a diagnosis of bipolar disorder. This caused him to go through an incredible period of adjustment. It took years for him to come to terms with, understand and accept that this condition was a part of his reality that he must face every day.


He became trained and certified as an Occupational Therapist. Through his work as an Occupational Therapist he developed skills and techniques that he wanted to share with others facing a similar condition so he wrote and self-published a book called Handbook for Healthy Living with a Mood Disorder.


I met Stephen in my Clarence Toastmasters Club and when he gave a speech on his experience it blew me away. He is a natural storyteller and an excellent speaker. You can read his blog Sharing the Journey to learn more and keep tabs on his inspiring story.

If you can make it to one of his events and hear him speak, live, you will find his warmth, sincerity and gift for storytelling to be refreshing and uplifting. Here is a link to his upcoming events. Whether or not you or anyone you know struggles with mental health issues, you cannot help but be inspired by Stephen’s story.


Please repost this article and spread the word about this inspiring story!

It is What You Make of It

Starting this blog is a labor of love for me. My path has had many twists and turns, particularly in the areas of career/work.

Sharing this journey with all of you is a way for me to share healing with all of you. We are all in this world to help each other and heal ourselves.

It takes some time for us to understand struggles others face, because we can get caught up in our own, or we may be blessedly free of them, for a time.

Creatures of Adaptation

It has been said many times that we humans are creatures of habit. But what happens when life throws a monkey wrench into our familiar habit patterns?

Well, first, we may get a little out of joint. But, by and large, we find our way to adapt to the changes, and keep moving. This is hardwired into our beings. It is part of our will to survive.

Unfortunately, we may adapt and form habits that hinder our true expression of ourselves. We may stifle our calling or our passion in an effort to adapt to what we perceive as the limitations or challenges of our current reality.

Creatures of Surpassation

While we may adapt, survive, and plug away, deep within, we feel a need for more. We all want to surpass something. We all have dreams, huge dreams, big enough to rock the world, if only we let them out.

This is also deeply indicative of who we are as humans. This desire to surpass is part of our connection to The Divine. We all feel something when we look up at the stars, or ponder a great storm, the vastness of the ocean, or a lovely mountain range.

Writing is what makes me feel connected to this aspect of myself. It seems to be my calling. I am pushing myself to put it out there with faith that you will connect with me, and with your own inner passion, drive, or calling.

How can I help you connect with your drive to surpass? What have you found that lifts you to new heights? We are in this together, I am cheering you on! If you have a story you would like to share I would love to interview you for my blog! 

Comment below, or, if you prefer:

Contact me on my Facebook page, or send me an e-mail at freedompowerjoy@gmail.com

Are You Sleepworking?

Do you feel like you could do your job in your sleep? Are you bored out of your mind, uninspired and just fed up with the day-to-day drudgery of exchanging your time for a paycheck that never goes far enough?

You are not alone. Millions of people share in your pain. Many dream of owning a business. But do you have what it takes to own and run your own business? Do you know what it takes?

From my years of interviewing entrepreneurs I can tell you, it takes passion, determination, optimism, perseverance, and a lot of creative thinking.

That Four-letter-word

It also takes a willingness to take on something a lot of people don’t like to talk about. It is that dirty word known as RISK.

If you are not willing to accept the risk involved, you will not be able to handle going into business for yourself. You must come to terms with risk, what it means to you and what comes along with it.

Risk is simply the chance that things will not go according to your plan, and you will lose time and money. It is the opposite of security. Security is when you are sure that you will not be wasting time or money, you will be paid and you can count on it. These are both matters of perception.

It’s All Relative

In reality, there is no such thing as security, there is risk everywhere, it is inherent in every moment of life. There is no guarantee that your government will not fail, that the earth will keep turning on its axis, that lightening won’t strike, or you won’t suddenly fall ill.

If you know you had a year to live, would you do anything differently? This is a way of turning your perception of risk on its head. What would security mean in that scenario?

Wake Up

Hopefully we all have a long life ahead of us. Even so, how do we want to spend it? Is there a way to wake up to your work and find new meaning in it, right where you are? Is it possible to add life to your time outside of work that would really be satisfying?

Don’t waste another moment sleepworking. Dream yourself awake by focusing on what is really meaningful to you, and offering your best self each and every moment to the world. You will not regret it.

I love comments, please reply below!

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