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Posted: April 04, 2014

The Phoenix Factor

Four tips to regenerate when life slams a door

Theresa M. Szczurek

There are days when life slams a door shut.  What do the most successful people do?

Regenerate. This is the R in Sunflower.  Passionate pursuers, as described in the book Pursuit of Passionate Purpose, have the SUNFLOWER Traits, whereby each letter aligns with a different characteristic or trait.  

A regenerative nature allows Passionate Pursuers to revive, renew, and produce again despite adversity, setbacks, and obstacles.  With the ability to bounce back, recover readily, and rise from the ashes, they possess the Phoenix Factor just like the unique mythical bird fabled to have lived 500 years or more.  As a process of human development and reinforced in life, generativity is indispensable in all pursuits of passionate purpose.  Such resilience appears to be interdependent with the other SUNFLOWER traits of Self-confidence, Never Quitting and Optimism.

Frank Sinatra’s hit song That’s Life has a meaningful message.  Consider a few of its lines:

That's life (that's life), I tell you I can't deny it
I thought of quitting, baby, but my heart just ain't  gonna buy it

I've been up and down and over and out and I know one thing

Each time I find myself flat on my face
I pick myself up and get back in the race


Politicians, the ones that survive, know how to regenerate.  Consider Hillary Clinton.  Right after she lost the Democrat bid for the US presidency, she picked herself up and supported Barack Obama. Then after he won, Hillary served on his cabinet as the Secretary of State.  Phoenix must be her middle name.

Practical Pointers to Regenerate.

  1. Pause. Take a break to recharge.  Be kind to yourself.
  2. Reconnect with your passion.  What is meaningful to you?  How can living true to your values and working to make a contribution reenergize you.
  3. Surround Yourself with Proper People.   “Read about and listen to other people who have successfully moved beyond difficult situations,” says Josephine Heath, president of The Community Foundation serving Boulder County.  If they did it, so can you.
  4. Follow the Phoenix Factor.  Believe and act.  Regenerate and rise from the ashes.

Frank Sinatra knew what all successful people know.  There will be difficult times – that’s life.  The winners don’t let that stop them.  They may take a break to recharge and connect with their passions.  Then they rise again with resilience and get back in the race.

Theresa M. Szczurek, Ph.D., co-founder and CEO of Radish Systems, is a serial technology entrepreneur. The story of her last start-up, which sold for more than $40 million in less than six years, is included, along with her strategies for success, in the Amazon-bestseller Pursuit of Passionate Purpose: Success Strategies for a Rewarding Personal and Business Life., and @TheresaSzczurek on twitter.

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