Sunday, July 6, 2014

World of Writing, Interview

-- World of Writing, Interview -- 

 I am proud to feature Sharon Brukman today - founder, CEO and publisher of Natural Awakenings Magazine. Join us for this fascinating discussion about Sharon's journey to finding a way to have a work life that she can be proud of and passionate about, one that is in line with her personal beliefs. I love the fact that her focus is on creating a better world, sustainable living, and respect of living beings. 

Sharon Bruckman launched the original Natural Awakenings magazine in Naples, Florida, in 1994 when she recognized the need in her local community for a resource to share information and connect with people searching for alternative and natural ways of caring for their health and the environment. Since then, her enterprise has grown organically, responding to people’s increasing awareness of the critically interlinked issues we face today because of mainstream approaches to health care, food production and environmental systems.

Over the past 20 years, other entrepreneurs drawn to her vision, mission and supportive model for business success have joined the publishing family to bring Natural Awakenings to their respective home markets. The founding Southwest Florida magazine is now the flagship of the nation’s largest franchise publishing network in the mind-body-spirit field.

Learn more at:  *and be sure to check out the Green Living link there - I'm impressed!

What traits have contributed to your success?

Tenaciousness, mostly! Being an eternal optimist helps. I look for the highest and best in every person and situation, and consider myself in the service role of supporting others to be their best self. People resonate with my integrity and heart-centered desire to champion them in this way, which then ripples out to positively affect others.
I have always taken time to journal what is important to me and to envision what I want to manifest. Whenever I have started a small business, it’s never been money that has steered or motivated me. I simply work to make the world a better place and to express a vision or passion that I’m excited about.
Our time here is precious, and we each have unique talents and gifts to offer the world; it’s our job to choose wisely.

What inspired you to start publishing Natural Awakenings magazine?

My own natural living lifestyle and growing need and interest in living in harmony with nature provided the foundation. Next, I saw the need to educate and provide people with the information, tools and local resources that could support them in their journey. The name Natural Awakenings—a bit ahead of its time in 1994—speaks to the necessary “awakening” to who we are as human beings, waking up to our highest potential and the possibility of creating a world that cherishes and sustains Earth and all living things. 

How has Natural Awakenings changed your life?

As a local publisher, Natural Awakenings has provided me a vehicle for discovering, using and sharing solutions and resources for living a healthier lifestyle in a more healthy, sustainable hometown community.
Becoming a franchisor enables me to offer others the tools and ongoing support to publish a Natural Awakenings in their own communities. Together, we believe we are making a pioneering impact in lives here and around the world.
The whole adventure has required continual personal and professional growth in order to develop and make this project successful. It’s been a powerful journey for me.

How has your publication been a catalyst for change?

Natural Awakenings offers lively channels of communication and information that support the growth and success of ideas needed to help natural healing methods flourish, spread sustainable living practices and accelerate the conscious evolution of humanity. As we become aware of our deep interdependence on one another and Mother Earth, we can spiritually awaken to our oneness and connection with each other.

Have local publishers that were not looking for just a new career, but also a new life, been able to fulfill their professional and personal goals?

Taking a leap into any unknown requires courage, trust and surrendering preconceived ideas. I think that most of our publishers were drawn to Natural Awakenings because they sought a career change that vividly expresses their own vision and goal to make a greater positive impact. Most wanted more control over their source of livelihood and the freedom that can come with having their own business, setting their own hours and working from home. Usually, it also means learning many new skill sets, and every publisher’s experience is different. Most say they love what they are doing, highlighted by their meetings with local people and organizations all dedicated to doing good.

What drives the commitment of people that have rallied around your vision of “Healthy Living on a Healthy Planet”?

For many people, the shift toward more natural ways of living and systems of healing is accelerated by personal health challenges that allopathic medicine isn’t effectively addressing. They discover that when they become more conscious about their food sources, they eat and feel better. Eating organic, whole, unprocessed foods grown without toxic chemicals lessens the toxic burden on their body and the environment.
Natural health practitioners and remedies address the root cause of disease in harmony with their body’s own natural healing abilities. Natural stress-relief solutions ranging from meditation, prayer and yoga to essential oils, herbs and homeopathics empower this journey of “natural awakening” to a better way of life. We encourage living simply and mindfully, including ways to go green and save money in the process. We assist parents in instilling a love of all things natural in their children, regularly point out the dangers of all forms of pollution and give readers tangible ways to take action based on understanding how vitally important a healthy environment is to all life.

How can others fulfill their dream and find joy in their career and life as you have?

We have to nurture our dreams just like we nurture our children or anything we love. Pay attention to what feeds us and makes us feel alive.
 I begin by regularly taking quiet time in nature or in prayer and meditation. Write out what brings you joy, what your passions are and what makes you feel alive. Read helpful books and listen to people able to support you in creating and attracting the kind of life that feels right. Find time to dream and think big. Don’t get hung up on how-tos or why it can’t happen. Logic questioned the inner voice telling me to start a conscious living publication at every turn, including the fact that I didn’t have prior publishing experience.

What supports someone’s success despite a volatile economy?

Success, however you define it, can be a combination of right timing, right fit, fearlessness and the ability to self-direct in meeting a perceived need. It’s important to be willing to keep plowing on, maintaining the integrity of the vision, no matter what.
Along the way, I’ve participated in numerous healing and empowerment sessions, workshops and spiritual retreats to help me move through anything I’m experiencing that is blocking progress. Of course, making the most of good business consultants and creative, talented staff is essential. Know when you need help and hire wisely.

What do you see as the most important issue today?

We are facing a critical time in our history. We must wake up from the illusion of separate interests and realize we are all one and on this journey together. Once we can make this shift and work collectively for the highest good of all living things, we really can create Heaven on Earth!

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