5 Simple and Effective Ways to Enhance Employee Engagement


Enhance Employee Engagement

If employees truly are an organization’s best asset, then leaders and managers should make caring for them a priority. Companies have a uniquely valuable opportunity to transform their employees’ work experiences into ones that are fulfilling and motivating; this, in turn, will allow workers to bring their best to work every day.

According to the annual Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) 2016 Employee Job Satisfaction and Engagement Survey, “The U.S. has a problem with employee engagement. U.S. employees reported that they were moderately engaged averaging 3.8 on a 5-point scale where 5 is highly engaged and 1 is unengaged” (Source). Before you can begin to increase employee satisfaction and engagement, it’s critical for you to know what to improve. This post covers five simple but effective ways to do just that.

Implement Flexible Scheduling, if Possible

Are your employees sick of the status quo 9-5 work environment? Well, it may be beneficial to implement a flex scheduling attendance program. A relaxed approach to scheduling offers your employees the chance to work when it best fits their schedule, and it’s fairly popular too. In fact, a full sixty-five percent (65%) of organizations recognized as Best Places to Work in the U.S. (2015) reported that they offered, as a standard year-round practice, the option to work flexible hours or a compressed work week (Source: Best Companies Group, U.S. Employer Benchmark 2016).

Many professionals, including those with children or aging parents, struggle to fit together their work and personal schedule. With a flex schedule system, you’ll alleviate the stress many employees may face throughout the day, while keeping mission-critical business activities on track. You can compose your own guidelines that will ensure meetings aren’t missed, while giving employees the freedom to meet all their responsibilities.

Offer a Benefits Package

Providing a comprehensive benefits package is one key element in the attraction and retention of top talent. According to a study published by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), employees within today’s workforce desire:

  • Improved compensation and benefit plans (53%)
  • Enriched vacation and holiday benefits (35%)
  • New experiences (32%)

A comprehensive benefits package today takes into consideration not just the standard medical, dental, and vision needs of the employee but incorporates health and wellness initiatives into the package, as well.

Provide Ample Career Development Opportunities

For many organizations, career development initiatives have the potential to be the number-one driver of employee engagement. Take a cursory look at your organization: are you taking the time to meet with employees to discuss development goals? Have you mapped out career moves that individuals can make in your organization?

If you were shaking your head in disagreement to any of these questions, you may want to take a step back and consider developing a sustainable career development program for your employees. Millennials and other young workers especially crave development opportunities. Aligning engagement strategies around worker priorities may benefit organizations in the long-term.

Assess Company Culture

A lack of engagement often stems from a lack of connection to identity and purpose. It is crucial for organizational leaders to cultivate a culture where employees feel the reward of contributing to work that matters. If your employees are suffering from a lack of engagement, you have a purpose problem.

How are you helping your employees to articulate their purpose? Is everyone aligned with that purpose? Company culture is often listed as one of the most important reasons why people are happy in their jobs. Great culture is about sharing common goals and purpose, in an engaging and motivating environment.

Gain New Insight from an Employee Survey

Interestingly, when a company asks its employees for their opinions, engagement at that organization tends to increase by 5%. Just asking your employees for feedback moves the needle! It’s important, however, to be choosy about what kind of feedback you collect. Because employees want their employers to take action on their feedback, it’s essential to conduct an employee survey only if the results are valid and actionable. Unfortunately, businesses sometimes make the mistake of using employee surveys to collect data that is irrelevant or impossible to act on. To ensure your employee feedback data is actionable, ask your survey provider how customers use reports to affect change.


Tags: Employee Surveys, Employee Engagement

What do our people need?  A Sense of Community and Belonging

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communityA few days ago I was privileged to attend a conference that focused on our veterans, the issues they faced after discharge from service, their expectations, their feelings of social isolation, and how, together, we could provide resources and opportunities to improve their quality of life.

I came to a conclusion after just the first speaker at the event:  The discussion presented described not only to the experience faced by our veterans, but could be applied to every member of our society, no matter what state or city they live.

As you read on, I am confident that you will agree that the Enjoy Life Community® program developed by the Time to Play Foundation provides a valid solution to address many of the issues being faced today, not only by our veterans, but by a majority of our youth and our people.

Perhaps it is time for the people within our communities to stop just “existing” and “surviving” and to start “living”.

The first speaker at the event was a Vietnam Veteran and a chaplain.  For the purposes of this article, we will call him Mr. O.

He presented how a soldier is trained and embraced into duty and described what becomes missing in their lives upon return to civilian life after discharge.

#1:  A sense of purpose:  Mr. O explained that, when a soldier is in active service, they have a “job”.  He explained how the soldier is important in that job, how the members of service “liked” them in that job, and how the armed forces wanted the soldier to succeed in that job.

#2:  A sense of community / belonging:  Mr. O discussed the soldier’s sense of community and belonging while on active duty and how the soldier knew who they were and where they stood with the others in their command (community).

#3:  A sense of Intimacy:  Mr. O described the sense of intimacy felt by the soldier in their command.  He explained how soldiers not only knew the members of their command (community), but how they stood by each other and supported each other.

Mr. O noted that, after the soldier left active service, they no longer felt this sense of community, of belonging, of purpose, or of importance; that, upon discharge from service, they no longer felt the sense of intimacy or sense of value.

Mr. O noted that there is no system to integrate the soldier back into their home community, and that, without their military unit’s support, they cannot “get home”.

Mr. O said that this is when the dilemma of “where do you belong when you no longer belong” sets in, which is when, he noted, that many soldiers turn to drugs or alcohol to find a sense of comfort.  He described his experience talking to incarcerated veterans who feel more comfortable in jail because they are around people who understand them.

Mr. O said that the feeling experienced by veterans becomes most disturbing when no one understands them, when no one understands who they are, and when they no longer have a voice.  He described how these become the feelings that breed the feelings of hopelessness.  He described how the soldier feels lost without the sense of values given to them and lost because what they believe is not what others believe.

It is, at that time, when the soldier feels very lonely and isolated.

After hearing Mr. O speak, it becomes evident how every person would benefit from being embraced by the community in which they live in the manner the armed forces embraces their soldiers.

Further, Mr. O noted that, years ago in our civilian communities, there were clubs and organizations and a sense of belonging in a community; that people socialized together.  Now, he noted, people are increasingly socially isolated and not embracing of others.

As I imply that there are similarities in the feelings experienced by people who are not veterans, I am in no way minimizing the experience of those who have served.  Thankfully, the general population has not seen the circumstances of war that many of our returning veterans have experienced, and I do acknowledge that our veterans may need support services and programs to face the resulting trauma.

But, think about it. . .

What community member is really integrated into our communities throughout their lives starting with our youth? What programs are available that help the general population feel “at home” or help them develop a sense of belonging or a sense of support?  A sense of not being alone even if facing a negative life situation?

How many articles or events do we need to read about where those who feel “different”, not supported, socially isolated or bullied adopt negative coping techniques including the utilization of drugs or alcohol or cause harm to themselves or others in their communities through violent acts?

I believe the need for self worth and the effects of social isolation are the same for every one of us.

I believe that, no matter where we live, WE ALL NEED a sense of community, a sense of belonging, a sense of purpose, a sense of importance, a sense of intimacy and a sense of being of value.

We all need a sense of community.  We all need to belong.

The Enjoy Life Community® model presents a solution to all who live in any community.  It will not only help our veterans re-integrate and feel welcome and at home, but the intention of an Enjoy Life Community® is to:  Bring together all organizations and individuals in a community, encourage proactive community collaboration, utilize the community organizations to trickle information throughout a community, showcase the good work of community organizations to encourage participation by community members, identify areas where community participation is available to increase community involvement with the intention to decrease social isolation, and to utilize the strength and experience of community members in a community.

The Enjoy Life Community® model is a low cost social intervention that is a visible, non-threatening approach to create quality of life for those in a community.

The Enjoy Life Community® model provides a positive reminder and reinforcement to enjoy life by offering visible cues, establishing pride in a community, and encourages a focus on the positive and the possibilities.


It is also important for me to mention here the fact many people do not proactively seek assistance when they are experiencing a negative life situation.  The Enjoy Life Community®, due to its visibility of resources in the community, also offers an opportunity for a more proactive approach to solve this issue.  Additionally, I believe the current system that provides individual counseling may perpetuate (continue) the individual’s experience and current belief system.  Even with outreach or counseling or support programs, the individual may remain isolated and continue to feel “unwelcomed” or segregated from their communities.  That would potentially change in an Enjoy Life Community®.

The Enjoy Life Community® utilizes the resources and people in a community to make it stronger to enhance the quality of life for all.

The Enjoy Life Community® model can be applied to any community, including a school community, college campus or corporate environment to create the feeling that people are important and belong.

If you are interested in learning more about this easy to implement solution, please contact us at 631-331-2675 or email: doreen@timetoplay.com.

Just imagine the possibilities if people in their communities felt supported, not alone, and lived in a place where they were able to share or develop their talents.

Just imagine…

After all, I believe every moment of every day should feel like “play”.  It is time to enjoy life. It is Time to Play.

Love, Doreen


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Doreen Guma, MA, FACHE, CPC, CLC:  Doreen holds a Bachelor of Science in Management, a Masters in Business and Policy Studies, is a Fellow of the American College of Healthcare Executives, a Certified Social and Emotional Intelligence Coach, Certified Professional Coach, Certified Life Coach, and the author of the book, If I Knew Then What I Know Now, Our Quest for Quality of Life.

Doreen is the founder of the Time to Play Foundation, a 501c3 not for profit organization with the mission and purpose to enrich the lives of others through programs, public awareness outreach activities, events and learning opportunities that further the concept of enjoying life.  The Foundation’s website, www.TimetoPlayFoundation.org, has resources, events and articles for a person to learn what they need to know for a better life.

Photo credit:  http://thedinoffschool.com/about-us/community



GoalOne of the most important motivational techniques a leader can use for success is goal setting that involves all team members. Without specific written goals with plans of action to attain them the success of your organization is left to chance.

The future of your organization is far too important to be left to chance. It begins with you.

Unless you as the leader are goal directed and create a goal setting climate in all levels of your organization, most of your other leadership efforts will be in vain.  You can’t effectively set goals for another person, but you can create a climate that encourages and develops goal seeking attitudes. You can also help team members relate their goals to overall organizational goals.  There are four components of directing the goal setting of others.

  1. Team members must choose their own goals. To accomplish any goal, people must have a genuine commitment to  it. When personal goals can be realized to accomplish organizational goals, a higher motivational climate will exist.
  2. Make it a challenge. Encourage team members to set goals and stretch themselves to do more than they have accomplished in the past. To be motivating, some risk will be involved.  Low goals don’t inspire people to use their full potential to be all they can be.  Goals that are set high cause people to stretch, reach, grow, and use more of their full potential.  As a result, they achieve more.
  3. Establish a personal development philosophy. When you expect your team members to grow and develop more of their potential, you can also expect and accept shortcomings. After all, if your team members already had all the qualities you possess, they would probably already be in your position or in one comparable to it.  Be willing to make allowances for occasional shortcomings, and avoid being too demanding.  You will grow personally as you help your team members grow, and in effect, you will multiply yourself by building their leadership capacities.  If, on the other hand, you have no tolerance for their shortcomings, you will in some form communicate this rejection to them, and they will gradually cease to set goals.  The results will be the opposite of what you want to accomplish.
  4. Give feedback on performance. Just as you’re better able to motivate yourself when you have periodic feedback on your performance, team members also need to know how they’re doing. Give them frequent, specific feedback.  This will encourage them to set new and higher goals.

Goal setting is a prelude to action and is dynamic.  When you and your team members set and achieve goals on a regular basis, you increase your chances of success.  At the same time, team members grow, develop and begin to use more of their talents and abilities.

Image credit:  http://halaschool.com

Your Business' Vision and Mission: Lee Munch's Monday's Money Message of July 13th, 2015


Hi! I’m so excited to be getting going on my blog here on Time to Play. It’s mission is so valuable and needed.   Enjoy my blog post on that very topic!

For my video blog, CLICK HERE

What is the vision for your business? Do you have one?  What about a mission statement?

A compelling vision and mission can be translated into goals which are realized through strategies implemented as initiatives to generate results.

An effective mission helps define who are you are and what you intend to do – kind of like “your marching  orders”. Did you know that companies whose employees understand the mission and goals enjoy 29% greater return than other firms?

Some quick ideas for you on developing a strong vision for your small business:

  • Vision – must be something almost unattainable, like reaching the farthest star. It should be set at least 100 years into the future.
  • Another option is to set the Vision of being the best in your industry in your region or even the world …

An effective mission statement will have the following parameters::

  • Defines Product or Service
  • Customer-Focused
  • Results Oriented
  • Aligned with Company Objectives
  • Defines Value-Added
  • Clear and Convincing

Let me know how you do with yours. If you already have one, please share it with us on the comments below (free self promotion! go ahead and take it!)

If you need help in putting yours together, why not sign up for my complimentary 15 minute laser session and I will walk you through it! Just click HERE

The "Stuff" They Did't Teach You About Finding A Fulfilling Career

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One of my favorite postings involves a picture of Albert Einstein with the caption “I didnt say half the stuff people said I did.” Whether he said it or not someone wisely observed that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing repeatedly and expecting different results.

I’ve spent close to 40 years hiring people and unfortunately on more that one occasion having to fire people. Most of those people weren’t fired because they’d broken any rules, laws or policies. Most of them were terminated because they weren’t a good “fit” for the job to begin with. They only interest the job had was a wage and the wise sages and gurus of this world tell us money is a motivator for us for a maximum of 24 months. After that we cant get any deep spiritual meaning out of stocking shelves at 3:00 AM in the Big Box discount stores.

Oh, we follow the conventional wisdom on “how to find and attain meaningful employment.” The only really meaningful employment is the the employment that’s meaningful to you.

It seems like everyone around you is coming up with these uber jobs that create a real sense of fulfillment  and permanence and you are left scratching your head and posting resumes everywhere in heaven and earth hoping against hope that someone calls you.

And they don’t (I know, i know I began a sentence with a preposition.)

The reason? You don’t know what they know and they are not about to teach you.

Because you have chosen to be part of the amazing Time to Play community and because you want balance success and happiness in your life it means you believe you deserve success in your life, I am going to share 40 years of sitting on the “other side of the table.”  I’m going to share some tips and techniques that will help you get an edge.

Here is the good news: I’m not going to ramble on and on. I’m going to share a series of videos with you that I’ve recorded on YouTube about creating effective resumes, personal branding and preparing killer, knock em’ dead interviewing skills.

They are not the stuff we teach you, they are simply the stuff we use to choose people for those fulfilling and meaningful jobs.

The first video is on creating a killer resume – One that will get you interviews. The link is below:

If you have any questions or in sites feel free to email me at jurkiewiczconsulting@outlook.com. I’ll be more than happy to set aside some time to share my thoughts with you.

I hope you find some value

Self Imposed Limitations

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follow your dreams

Follow your dreams

I’ve been saying for years now, “Learn what you need to know so you can enjoy life”, and although I’ve been a huge advocate for learning, I’ve also been struggling with this HUGE concept.

Throughout my journey developing the idea behind the Time to Play concept, truly believing that everyone deserves to enjoy life, I have encountered obstacles. I have met many people who I relied on and became incredibly disappointed in.  I “waited” for things to happen, for promises that didn’t materialize.  I became amazingly frustrated, and had given up numerous times.  Sound familiar?

“Can’t” even sometimes snuck itself in there…

I’m sure many of you have had similar experiences.

Thankfully, I have been provided with amazing friends and teachers like Rebecca L. Norrington.  She has slipped in words of wisdom and empowerment to me at some of my most critical moments.  She may not even realize the power behind what she gives.  One important thing I’ve learned from her is that no one can make you “feel” a certain way… only YOU can make you feel.  Implementing this mindset takes practice. Trust me.

So, here’s the scoop on today’s revelation that I would like to share.  Hopefully I won’t lose you as I try to explain it.  Please stay with me…

I would like to share something I have realized in order to keep myself on track, and I hope it can also help you to avoid discouragement.  I have realized that ideas and a change in our thinking, no matter how ideas and concepts are presented, or how many times you hear something, are not necessarily immediate. This goes for anything… including things like “tips” for healthy eating or “pointers” or ideas for happiness or for success.  Anyone can “tell” us stuff, but it’s up to us to “get it”.

Remember how hard it may have been for us to learn how to solve a math problem?  How we tried, maybe we even had gone for extra help?  And then you “got it”, and it was easier to complete the assignments?  Like that.   I believe this is how it is for many of us to adopt a new way.  It sometimes may take time, even years, for ideas and concepts to evolve in order for us to see things more clearly and to understand.  Research shows it takes 21 days to adopt a new habit.  I think that it takes a lot longer – it takes until we are ready to adopt a different way of thinking.

Today I have realized something that I’ve known all along, but a concept that I really “got” this morning – the idea behind self imposed limitations.  I have recognized that it takes years to unlearn what we have decided to believe about ourselves.  The lack of self confidence, that we don’t belong, the belief we cannot “be” or “do”, which result in our creation of frustration and unhappiness in our lives.  I wrote about these concepts in our book, “If I Knew Then What I Know Now”, (www.IfIKnewthenBook.com) writing in chapter 2 about my belief that we are “tortured souls” that live in self-imposed prisons (chapter 2).  There’s a sample read here, where you can read the beginning of this idea.

Today those concepts have become even clearer to me.  I challenge you to look around and see how many people accept life in that manner.

Today, with a belief that is even stronger than ever, I know each of us has amazing potential.  I also know that potential is just inside every one of us, waiting for the time when we are ready to use it.

How many of us believe we can’t do something?  That we can’t achieve success in an endeavor?  That we don’t deserve ”IT”? That we are destined to be sick, poor, or suffer hardships?  That we’re “unlucky”?

I have been thinking of these questions, as well, since the podcast John Jurkiewicz, another of our Time to Play team, and I did last Wednesday.  Part of the discussion was how many of us fight our success gene.  I believe that’s totally true. I believe part of our fighting is involuntary because we act as we were taught. (If you would like, you can listen to the podcast here.)

Today, even though I’ve heard it a million times, I had an “AHA” moment.  I know that we each have, within us, the power to achieve.  But we achieve what we believe.

And, I know that it takes a long time for us to unlearn what we believe and to see things differently.

Ask yourself what you prefer to believe — that the sky is the limit or that you are here to suffer through life?

Every day is a new and beautiful opportunity.

What is your dream?

Perhaps today is YOUR day to seize it… to start on your path of making your dreams happen.

Perhaps it’s your time to stop looking back and stop thinking “can’t”.

“Talk is cheap”, someone once said.  “Someday I’m going to… “ is another famous phrase.

Do it. Don’t give up. Keep your eye on your dream.

It’s time to enjoy YOUR life.  It’s time to play.

Love, Doreen

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Doreen Guma, MA, FACHE, CPC, CLC is a board certified healthcare executive working in healthcare for the past 28 years. She has seen the “sick and sad” and knows there has to be a better way.  She is also a certified professional life coach and the founder of Time to Play, a website dedicated to life enjoyment.  The Time to Play Foundation is a 501c3 not for profit corporation with the mission and purpose to enrich the lives of others through programs, public awareness outreach activities, events and learning opportunities that further the concept of ENJOYING LIFE!  Short version … inspiring EVERYONE to enjoy life.  Contact us at 631-331-2675 or email info@timetoplay.com | www.TimetoPlay.com

Nobody Wins — BUT, We all CAN

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take responsibility

take responsibility

When things happen in my own personal experience, it sets a fertile environment for me to start thinking.  I have a habit of analyzing everything, probably a result of working in the field of quality improvement for many years. I believe that everything has the potential to be better, and even if we think something is perfect, there are still opportunities for improvement.

Here’s a situation that I experienced last week.  I’ve been thinking about how to put my thoughts into words since then.

A few days ago I had the experience of going to court for the sentencing of a criminal case.  I had never been to the courts before, and I was truly saddened by the experience.  The whole courthouse scene was one of despair, from the line of people waiting to get through security, to the stressed out faces attending the many proceedings.

As you may know, I am part of the motorcycle community, recently appointed as a board member of a motorcycle safety, education and advocacy group.  I truly believe in the power of the people, and not only went to support an injured motorcyclist and his family, but to be a visible reminder of the need to protect motorcyclists from irresponsible motorists.

In this particular case there was a woman who critically injured a man riding his motorcycle to work.  She had been in and out of jail most of her adult life and an addict since she was 12 years old. In our book, “If I Knew Then What I Know Now” (www.IfIKnewThenBook.com), I discussed the adoption of self-destructive behavior to hide from pain in our lives.  There are many types of self-destructive behavior aside from alcohol or substance abuse, including eating disorders, over shopping, self-harm, or even “proving” you are good enough, the one I am most familiar with. Chapter 2 in our book is entitled “We Are All Tortured Souls”, where this was discussed a little more.

From the limited information provided at the sentencing, it was alluded to that she had started using drugs to hide her emotional pain from her father’s physical abuse.  Now, at 27 years old, having been out of jail 3 days prior to the accident, she chose to drive a motor vehicle while under the influence of drugs.  In a matter of minutes she changed lives forever, causing irreversible pain and suffering to a lovely man who had been down the block from his destination at the time of the accident, as well as significant financial hardship to his family.  Further, she left the courthouse on her way back to jail, this time for a matter of years.

In this situation, and so many others in our lives, the choices we make create an end result where nobody wins.

Think about that.

How many situations do you hear about that cause people unnecessary pain or hardships?

Unfortunately, watching the news, we hear daily of people who makes the choice to lie, cheat or injure another in some manner by making a wrong choice.  Something I have learned is that we truly know right from wrong, perhaps even if this knowledge is deep down inside.  Perhaps we chose our behavior stemmed from anger or fear.  No matter what, when we make the wrong choice, we sometimes cannot take back the outcome resulting from the action we chose to complete.

I wrote in our book, “History will repeat itself if we let it” a number of times.  This sentiment can pertain to so many instances, unfortunately.  We continue to hear many world problems without having solutions to stop things — the same things — from occurring over and over.  Sometimes the outcomes result from choices that had stemmed from our irresponsibility in performing an act we know we should not be doing, and sometimes the outcomes result from greed.  There are so many things I can write here as examples…

But, instead of actions to rid our society from these social ills, we have new laws and legislation to protect people from a potential injury or hardship — even though there is a root cause for everything.

Apparently just creating new laws against “wrong doings” is not working.  We can look at legislation for illegal hand guns, texting / drunk driving, illegal drugs, and more… the stuff keeps happening.  We also continue to hear stories of people taking financial advantage of others, even politicians that do so.  Again, we all know right from wrong.

Perhaps it is time to take responsibility and make good choices.  Simple things like not drinking and driving or texting and driving.  Things that we hear about and just continue to do anyway, it seems.  Perhaps we need to consider the feelings of others and make better choices before there are irreversible ramifications of our actions.

Something else I had written about in the book was waiting for “them” to fix things that are problems.  Guess what — there is no “them”. There is “us”.

Change will result when WE start working together to make things change.  People Helping People.  Collaboration = Success.  It’s Time to Enjoy Life.

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Doreen Guma, MA, FACHE, CPC, CLC is the founder of the Time to Play Foundation, a 501c3 corporation inspiring everyone to enjoy life. Email her at doreen@timetoplay.com

It’s Romance Season: Surprise Your Valentine With A Personalized Vacation

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It’s Valentine’s Day this Saturday, and many people will be giving and getting the same old boring gifts, like roses, candy, or a piece of jewelry that most often winds up in a drawer long forgotten.


Korte Travel/Cruise Planners/American Express TravelAs Valentine’s Day also kicks off the “Season of Romance,” why not jump out of the box with something that will surprise and delight your special someone?   This year create beautiful, lasting memories with the gift of a personalized vacation.


Give Korte Travel , a Cruise Planners, American Express Representative, a call at (631) 893-4232 and we will design the personal vacation or cruise that will thrill your sweetheart. We could make arrangements to mail a gift bag with a gift certificate and exciting brochures that will detail your romantic adventure.


Since time is short for Valentine’s Day, we can an even create a “virtual” gift and email the gift certificate to your heart-throb via e-mail.


This “thinking out-of-the-box” idea isn’t just for Valentine’s Day. Imagine how excited your significant other will be when they receive a vacation gift bag for an upcoming anniversary or birthday. You can even include the whole family if you like!
Give us a call today and Chris or Sheila will design a custom vacation that will knock your Valentine’s socks off!

See Korte Travel Blog– where vacation memories are made

Winners of Best of Long Island Travel Agency 2014


Toll Free: (631) 893-4232 ~ 866-81-KORTE (56783)
Local: 631-893-4232

Babylon, NY 11702

When You Look In the Mirror, What Do You See

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People often ask what value I derive from being a career development coach. There is not enough money in the world to replace the look of joy that washes over someones face as they come to that moment in their lives when they discover their true calling. It’s when the transformation begins. They look in the mirror and ask “Who’s that? Ahhhhh, it’s me!!!” They clap their hands, and do a rough imitation of the happy dance. I’ve even seen a tear or two well up in their eyes. They have, as one person told me, “Come Home.”

We’ve all had that experience – that rush of adrenaline that first keeps us going and then helps us level off when we reach the inevitable valleys of doubt. We peer in the mirror and we gaze at that wonderful creature staring back at us so full of life, potential and creative ideas. The transformation is ongoing. Like a car driving around a racetrack, we take a checkered flag, hold it high and begin another lap in our journey toward creating a long and lasting life. Our careers, our lives and, yes, even our destinies are all held in three things: We deserve to be successful, we are worth all the effort we invest in ourselves and finally, we are who we hang around with. I see the transformation as I help people navigate their own mine fields when they grapple with and conquer the uncomfortable notion of their own success. That’s what I’d like to share with you…the cornerstone of leading a successful and balanced life.

  “If You Can See It, You Can Be It.”

I was asked to coach a group of managers to help develop their leadership skills. In one of the exercises, I asked them to create the perfect company. In the center of each table I placed an 18” x 24” sheet of poster board. On top of each was a box of colored pencils. I was more than a bit nervous about this exercise. The participants were operations managers who gauged success based on the thickness of the calluses on their hands and how much grease and oil were on their clothes. As one of them told me before class, “I hope this isn’t one of those touchy-feely classes!”

Having them sit in captivity for close to an hour and color…well my heart kept moving between my throat and my stomach. I couldn’t stay in the room.  When we returned from a short break I asked them to share their drawings. I had planned on devoting a  forty minutes to the exercise but I couldn’t get the group to stop talking. While there weren’t any artists in the room the colors were vivid, and they drew clear and definite pictures of how they could create success in their company. There were no “touchy-feely” suggestions. Each idea related directly to a business measurable and its positive outcome. A few months later I was asked to conduct the same leadership seminar for union leaders from this company. It amazed me how aligned the visions were between two groups of people who traditionally looked at each other as adversaries.

 Your success is defined by you and you alone. Quit Letting Other Peoples Thoughts, Values and Ideas Live In Your Head Rent Free

 A few weeks later I received a phone call from one of the managers who’d been in my class. He wanted to know if I would be his personal coach. “That vision drawing you did with us…I want to do that for myself.”

It’s one of the first exercises I assign a new client. “Don’t tell me,” I challenge them, “Show me!”  I ask them what success looks like. The minds job is to create — that is its sole function. Our minds process what our five senses experience, mix it all together and come up with an outcome we can live with based on past experiences. We all walk around with a vision of success.  Our palette of success has unique colors and flavorings that articulate who we are and what we were meant to do. Our notions and opinions about our success are personal and run deep.

There’s a story I heard once about twin brothers who woke up one Christmas morning to find a large pile of horse manure adjacent to the family tree.  The first brother slumped into a chair and cried. “This is all I get for Christmas, — horse manure?” He began to weep and moan. The second brother studied the pile of manure for a moment. Thoughtfully, he walked around it a few times, looking at it from top to bottom. He plunged in and started digging, flinging the manure everywhere. Startled, his parents asked what he was doing. He stopped, looked over his shoulder and cried out, “There has to be a pony under here somewhere!”

We rarely look at ourselves in terms of visions or pictures. When we do, we can lead our minds in the direction we want to travel. Close your eyes for a moment and think of a time in your life that has special meaning for you. You see the scenery, the smells, the colors and the feeling of triumph or peace and calm. All of these are pictures. You don’t see words in 24 point font scrolling across a dark background. You experience your success over and over as a vision.

In her song, A Morning Prayer, Susannah Clifford Blachly, sings, “May you find the gifts in your mistakes.”  Nate no longer saw his past failings; he began to see the opportunities they gave him. His inner eye opened, albeit a bit slowly, as it does for all of us but his vision started to clear. That’s when real progress happens.

 Nothing Happens Until the Pain of Remaining the Same Outweighs the Pain of Change

It begins when you state the intention, the moment you look into the mirror and admit your secret: You deserve success and happiness. You not only deserve it, you crave it, and just like with the cream-filled doughnut you denounce three or four times each week, no one but you is the wiser.

You don’t deserve success any more than the next person, but you don’t deserve it any less. No one does. Oh, I know, you can play the humility card if you’d like. You’ll receive your rewards in the next life for all your sacrifices and that is good enough for you. But why can’t you have both? The Philosopher Henry David Thoreau nailed it when he said “Most people lead lives of quiet desperation.”

Most of us spend a portion of our days with our noses pressed against the glass, watching the drama that is someone else’s life. We rationalize how we wouldn’t want their problems and issues anyway, and then swallow our daily dose of stress and go on our merry way. We just can’t “see” ourselves doing what they do. So we don’t.

We rarely view success as our impact on the portion of the universe we’ve been asked to tend. We’re always carrying around some imaginary yardstick that measures ourselves against all of creation, and when we come up short, we simply remind ourselves of some huge mistake we made that keeps us from living a successful life.

Successful people don’t feel at all uncomfortable with what they’ve accumulated in life. They feel they deserve it and won’t ever apologize for it. It’s the rest of us who spin a tale for falling short of our dreams and aspirations. Do you believe you deserve to be successful and happy?  If you don’t, why should anyone else?

You Have the Ability to Write Powerful New Scenarios for Yourself.

 You have been walking a path toward success since the moment you were born.  Do you believe in your ability to succeed? Do you deserve success? Is it your birthright? Can you muster the courage to look beyond the next hurdle and see yourself doing the things you have always seen yourself doing and dreamed of doing?

Based on your life experiences your mind continually creates scenarios for you to justify where you are at this exact point in time. Right now, as you read this, it may be encouraging you to read more, to experience more, to learn to embrace the universe. On the other hand, that nagging little voice deep inside of you may be saying “This is a bunch of…” or “That’s good for them but not for me.”  Who controls your mind? You do, of course. No matter what has come before you or what sort of gobbledygook your mind conjures for the future, at any given moment, you can literally stop the nonsense that lives inside you, rent- free. If your vision isn’t getting you where you want to go, maybe it’s time to change visions. The necessary tools are all in that precious space between your ears.

 “You Deserve To Be Successful.”

 What if we could capture that thought, and no matter what else we are told to the contrary, it stayed in our minds forever? Imagine it was not only our first thought, but also our last and every thought in between. That we lived our lives convinced we deserved success. Imagine how we would live if we knew no matter what twists and turns our lives took, we deserved success. Failures would become learning experiences, bad decisions would be foundations to build on and, to top it all off, we’d be grateful for what we now call” negative experiences.”  Success wouldn’t be reserved for the lovely, the educated and the lucky. It would be OUR BIRTHRIGHT.”

I am proud to have guided so many amazing people toward finding their paths in this world and celebrating along with them the sweet successes they can call their own. “If you can see it, then you can be it.”

How about you? Are you ready to see yourself as the amazing person the rest of us do?

John Jurkiewicz can be reached at Jurkiewiczconsulting.com or at his web site www.jurkiewiczconsulting.com

Welcome to Our Enjoy Life Community

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enjoy life for websiteThis is a really amazing day.  A day that something exciting is taking place… a PROACTIVE, solution-based event.

Today we are installing a visual reminder to enjoy life… our Welcome to Our Enjoy Life Community sign in Port Jefferson Station — the FIRST Enjoy Life Community ever.

The concept behind the Enjoy Life Community Project is simple.  It’s a bridge between organizations within a community and a truly positive momentum for us to work together to enjoy life.

Here is a link to the Port Jefferson Station / Terryville community page.  This is a place where the resources and contacts will be available to all:  Enjoy Life Community Port Jefferson Station / Terryville

Below is the press release we sent out for the Welcome to Our Enjoy Life Commuinity sign installation — the sign installation is in recognition of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service — as this is a first step in awareness and a positive reminder that it is most important for us to remember to enjoy life.

Please email doreen@timetoplay.com or call 631-331-2675 with any questions or for the full protocol on the steps to implement an Enjoy Life Community in your city or town.


For Immediate Release

Contact:  Doreen Guma 631-331-2675 | doreen@djamesmarketing.com

Date:  Thursday, January 22, 2015

Time:  2:30 PM – 2:40 PM

Location:  Corner of Route 347 and Route 112 in Port Jefferson Station, NY

What:  In recognition of the Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service, Brookhaven Town Supervisor Ed Romaine and Councilwoman Valerie Cartright will join the Enjoy Life Community™ Committee and members of Port Jefferson Station as the FIRST EVER Welcome to Our Enjoy Life Community™ sign is installed.  The sign is a marker for positive things to come, bridging the communication throughout the community, and the work that will be done together by those who live in the Port Jefferson Station / Terryville community.

The Enjoy Life Community™ project is sponsored by the Time to Play Foundation, a 501c3 not for profit corporation with the mission and purpose to enrich the lives of others through programs, public awareness outreach activities, events and learning opportunities that further the concept of enjoying life.

“The main goal of the Enjoy Life Community™ program is to bring ALL community organizations, groups and businesses together to focus on the needs of the community as a whole and not the problems; to encourage everyone to get involved; to spread the new of the good works community groups and people are currently doing; to eliminate the hopelessness that people feel; to eliminate the thinking that they are powerless and encourage them to believe that, as a community, we can achieve anything,” said Doreen Guma, Founder of the Time to Play Foundation.

“So many people are doing such great things in each and every community, but I have found that many people do not know what the are working on or the resources within the community available to them.  Many times people feel hopeless and sit around and wait for “them” to fix things.  I believe we are all people living together and it’s up to us to make things happen to benefit us all.  Each Enjoy Life Community™ will become a “micro hub” where communities can create a wish list and everyone can “pitch in” so we can ALL enjoy life and make things happen.  Nothing is impossible when we work together,” said Guma.

The “Welcome to our Enjoy Life Community™ signs that will be installed throughout the community is an important part of the program.  The goal is for signs to be installed throughout the community to remind people of the importance to enjoy life, even if they are having a bad day; to trigger a positive momentum in the lives of all who live in the community; and to provide a positive visual focus to build community pride in the residents of the community.  Additionally, goals for the program are to encourage community participation and decrease social isolation, especially in at risk members of the community’s population including youth, veterans and seniors.

“With all the negative news every day, there is no better time than the present to focus on the positive and what our community needs to enjoy our life, and to work together to make it happen,” said Doreen.

Enjoy Life Community™ © 2014 by Doreen Guma for the Time to Play Foundation, Inc.