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Entrepreneur Szczurek supplies sensible success strategies


Source: Boulder County Business Report

Author: Caron Schwartz Ellis

Although I’d normally prefer to have my nose in a book of fiction, nothing starts the year off right like some inspirational reading. Local entrepreneur Theresa Szczurek’s new book, “Pursuit of Passionate Purpose,” is just the sort of thing to base your New Year’s resolutions on.

The book is a how-to guide for forging your chosen path. According to Szczurek, who runs her own strategic planning and organizational development company, Technology and Management Solutions, both business and personal success can be achieved by using a “two-four-six” methodology: The two-step formula is to follow a four-stage “proven process” and apply six “success strategies.”

I’m not going to reveal what those elements of wisdom are — ya gotta read the book!

But as I read it, quizzing myself along the way to see if I am indeed passionate enough to pursue my purpose (alliteration admirer Szczurek certainly has a soft spot for same-sounding words), what I really wanted to know was more about the author.

Szczurek structures the book’s chapters around processes and strategies, weaving throughout her own life experiences and those of the more than 80 folks she talked to.

Although the other voices in the book, like well-known Boulder business people Realtor Karen Bernardi and athlete/entrepreneur Mark Plaatjes, were interesting, I felt the airtime Szczurek gave them detracted from her fascinating tale. How about an autobiography rather than a dissertation?

Also, there was something about her rigorous methodology that made me think this gal must be Buddhist. In Buddhism 101, a must for us locals who share our community with Buddhist-inspired Naropa University, you learn how after young Prince Siddhartha figured it all out under the Bo tree he taught that the road to enlightenment involved knowing four noble truths and traveling an eight-fold path.

Turns out I was pretty close on both counts.

Although a product of Catholic parochial school, Szczurek caught the Transcendental Meditation bug as an undergraduate at Western Illinois University. Then, during her time with technology startup Radish Communications Systems, her friend and colleague, former Boulder entrepreneur Binx Selby, brought the teachings of Shinzen Young to Boulder. “I was immediately attracted, knowing I needed another vehicle to get more balance,” Szczurek says. “Meditation is one vehicle that can help you use this process in the success strategy.”

Appendix B is a minicourse in Shinzen’s “mindful meditation.”

But, Szczurek insists, “I didn’t want the book to be a turnoff to people who aren’t a meditator. I wanted to communicate a spiritual side and let people discover their own journey to wholeness. That’s what spiritually is — a pathway to wholeness.”

FYI, Szczurek says she’s now a Unitarian, a nonsectarian branch of Christianity that is open to a host of religious practices including meditation.

Szczurek felt a calling to write her memoirs after she and her husband, Richard Davis, sold Radish for $40 million and became parents of a baby girl.

But no one took much of an interest in “Hidden Treasures,” Szczurek’s professional and personal story. When she tried to peddle the book to agents, she says, “I wasn’t getting the right reaction. Normally rejections wouldn’t stop me. I felt the rejections were a message from the universe.”

Szczurek didn’t give up. She refocused the story and embarked on a research study of successful people to see how they pursued their passions.

Because of her experience trying to sell the first book, Szczurek considered self-publishing. But, she says, “People kept telling me ‘you have something important to share. You owe it to those who shared their stories to get the best publisher.’”

This time, inquiries to agents were fruitful. “I sent out 30 inquiries, and 12 were interested enough to see the whole package,” she says.

Szczurek chose to work with John Willig of Literary Services Inc. who got a deal in six weeks — including what she calls a “nice advance” — with publisher John Wiley & Sons. She signed the contract with Wiley in April and delivered the finished manuscript in July. The book was published in November.

“If it seems like you’re swimming upstream you might have to let go and say, maybe there’s another way,” Szczurek says. “When you’re on course the right things happen.”

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