My favorite life lesson quote is simply, “This too shall pass.” In any moment of challenge or crisis, this simple quote helps restore the faith that life is filled with both happiness and hardship. If we can learn from the lessons that challenges offer us and remember that brighter days lie ahead, we often see the light at the end of the tunnel.
As a part of my series about the things we can do to remain hopeful and support each other during anxious times, I had the pleasure of interviewing Julia Wojnar, Founder of Unleash Your Presence, which bridges the gap between executives’ brilliant ideas and their ability to communicate them powerfully. She is the host of the Unleash Your Presence podcast and has been a featured speaker and presenter on world-recognized platforms such as Entrepreneurs’ Organization (EO), and has been cited as an “authority builder” by The Huffington Post. She holds a B.S. in Communication Management and Design from Ithaca College’s Park School, has fifteen years of stage experience, and has been featured on outlets such as Thrive Global, iHeartRadio, and numerous podcasts.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! Our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you share with us the backstory about what brought you to your specific career path?
Ifyou told me seven years ago, that getting laid off would have been the catalyst that led to my true career path, I wouldn’t have believed you. At that time, my biggest desire was to work for myself and create more flexibility in my life. I started learning about business online and shortly thereafter, through working with my first business coach, I realized that speaking was the common thread that connected my skills and passions. Having essentially spent my life on stages, I developed critical speaking and presentation skills that so few people master (mostly due to the widespread fear of public speaking). So with that, the idea was planted, and my company, Unleash Your Presence, was born.
Is there a particular book that made a significant impact on you? Can you share a story or explain why it resonated with you so much?
When I started my business, a friend recommended that I read “The 4 Hour Workweek” by Tim Ferriss, and a light bulb switched on in my mind. Through the lessons in that book, I learned how to make my businesses operations much more efficient. That book was the catalyst that inspired me to travel more, and put more thought to the concept of lifestyle design.
Ok, thank you for all that. Now let’s move to the main focus of our interview. Many people have become anxious from the dramatic jolts of the news cycle. The fears related to the coronavirus pandemic have heightened a sense of uncertainty, fear, and loneliness. From your perspective can you help our readers to see the “Light at the End of the Tunnel”? Can you share your “5 Reasons To Be Hopeful During this Corona Crisis”? If you can, please share a story or example for each.
It’s easy to panic and get caught up in fears about what will happen next. But since we cannot control the future, I choose instead to focus on what I can control in my own life and business and see the positives. So with that said, here are my 5 reasons to be hopeful during this Corona Crisis.
- A Much-Needed Moment for Reflection — It can be hard for us to take a moment to step back, rest, and reflect on what truly matters to us. For those who are quarantined and forced to stay home, we now have a golden opportunity to rest, spend more time with loved ones, or even catch up on creative projects that we may not have gotten around to otherwise. Personally, I’m taking the time to delve into the online trainings that I’ve purchased from other small business owners for professional development as well as work on my book draft.
- Worldwide Pollution is Down — The canals in Venice, Italy are clear with dolphins returning to the coasts while China and many other countries across the world have experienced record-breaking pollution cuts due to factory closures. These are all positive signs of the environmental impact and show us that slowing down globally has had a positive effect of giving our world the time it has so badly needed to restore and regenerate.
- Increase in Innovation through Online Business & Events — As we embrace new ways of staying connected, there is more opportunity than ever for online businesses and in-person events going virtual. Years before this pandemic occurred, I embraced working with clients and speaking virtually as a more convenient way to broaden my reach. By embracing video conferencing technology and being open to delivering training modules and keynotes virtually, I’ve been able to serve clients across the country and even across the world. Disruption generally lends itself to innovation. Only when we’re forced to change old habits, can new (and often better) opportunities emerge. As the saying goes, “Necessity is the mother of invention,” so as old-school organizations are finally forced to go digital and have employees work remotely, we can in fact see a spike in productivity as well as a slew of new, fresh ideas.
- Uncertainty Breeds Opportunity — For investors, periods of crisis like we are experiencing now can inevitably lead to greater investment opportunities for those with the means of capitalizing on them. As Warren Buffet said, “Be fearful when others are greedy, and be greedy when others are fearful.” While this pandemic is leading us into a period of recession, if we look back at history, fluctuating economic cycles are the norm, not the exception. Even before the virus broke out, economists were already predicting an impending recession. But like a phoenix rising from the ashes, on the other side of recession comes opportunity. Just like during the Great Depression or more recently, during the last recession in 2008, those investors who were able to weather the storm and capitalize on market opportunities wound up with more gains afterwards.
- Communities Coming Together to Support Each Other — It’s exactly during times of crisis when we can start to notice an unprecedented level of support from friends and neighbors coming together to help each other out with food, financial support, and other necessities. Best of all, for those of us with small businesses, having continued support from loyal clients and customers not only helps our business and those it employs, but further stimulates the economy by keeping funds in circulation.
From your experience or research what are five steps that each of us can take to effectively offer support to those around us who are feeling anxious? Can you explain?
1. Breathe — Take a few deep breaths to slow down your heart rate so you can remain calm and ease the anxiety. Try out meditation, yoga, or any type of movement practice to get you out of your head and back into your body.
2. Pay attention to your nutrition — Eating excessive amounts of sugar or other unhealthy foods can contribute to brain fog which impacts how well we can think. In order to sustain your energy and do your best work while working remotely, consciously eat foods that fuel your body and mind.
3. Take time for hobbies — When we’re busy running around, we can forget to take time out to simply enjoy hobbies — dance, read, play an instrument, draw, etc. When in doubt, think about what you loved to do as a little kid or what you would do “if only you had the time.”
4. Spend Time with Loved Ones — Cherish the time at home with loved ones and keep in touch with friends and family through phone or video calls to stay connected.
5. Don’t Panic but Plan — Panicking doesn’t help. Problem solving does. Once you’ve taken a moment to calm your anxiety, think through how you can plan ahead for the end of the crisis. If you can talk through your plan with a trusted advisor or coach, that can be incredibly helpful to open your mind up to new possibilities and opportunities.
What are the best resources you would suggest to a person who is feeling anxious?
If you’ve covered all of the five steps above and are still feeling anxious, the next best thing I would suggest is to turn to a qualified coach, therapist, or other professional who can help. Mental health hotlines can be a resource as well as tele-health providers for mental health services (note that many mental health professionals often offer services on a sliding scale for those who may not be able to afford traditional therapy services).
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Do you have a story about how that was relevant in your life?
My favorite life lesson quote is simply, “This too shall pass.” In any moment of challenge or crisis, this simple quote helps restore the faith that life is filled with both happiness and hardship. If we can learn from the lessons that challenges offer us and remember that brighter days lie ahead, we often see the light at the end of the tunnel. Shortly before the current quarantines started in the U.S., I found myself cutting a trip in Asia short to return home. In the week before my return, aside from experiencing inconsistent internet, I also had to contend with multiple power outages (and always stocking up on bottled water as the local water supply wasn’t potable). In those moments when I found myself frustrated and waiting for the water to turn back on, I repeated back to myself, “This too shall pass,” and when I finally got back home, being quarantined didn’t seem so bad after all.
You are a person of great influence. If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂
Honestly, I would advise anyone to allocate time and effort towards building their communication skills. Ultimately, being able to communicate your message effectively is relevant for everyone. On the value of these skills, Warren Buffet shared “The dividends on the investment you make in sharpening your communication skills will pay off for the rest of your career.” Personally, I’ve been lucky enough to witness the transformation that my clients have experienced not only through improving their speaking and communication skills, but in their life overall. Once you see transformation in this one area, that can often lead to a ripple effect in improvements in other areas (health, wellness, personal relationships), as your confidence and skills build.
What is the best way our readers can follow you online?
My website — www.unleashyourpresence.com.
Thank you for these fantastic insights. We wish you only continued success in your great work!