Interview with Anna Barauskas – journalist, psychologist and life coach, lecturer and founder of The Neurolinguistic Programming Training Institute of Chicago, the only Polish-speaking life coaching school in the United States, motivational speaker and above all a committed mother.
You graduated from Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznań with a degree in international relations and then you left for the USA. You settled in Chicago, where you studied at two universities. Why did you decide to emigrate?
I came to the United States for the first time on behalf of an organization in which I acted as a volunteer for physically and mentally handicapped people. This was the period between the first and second year of studies in Poland. I returned to the United States after a few years to write my Master’s thesis. In the meantime, I was also offered a job in Alaska, where I was to play the role of…. a Russian language teacher. I did not take advantage of the proposal, but I returned to America after defending my diploma in the country. United States is the love of my life. I fell in love with them from the first sight
and this fascination resulted in a relationship that continues to this day. Here I made most of my dreams come true: I was born with two wonderful children, I saw places on my bucket list, I was a journalist for 10 years working for the Chicago radio station and as a correspondent of the Polish Radio TOK FM. I ran a local magazine SZIKagowianka and founded an international magazine for Polish women in the world, which for several years was even available in every kiosk of traffic throughout Poland.
Yes, I remember. It was a great fun for me to write articles for a magazine with such a global reach. You are a truly charismatic woman for us. Which qualities and qualifications contribute to your success?
Frankly speaking, I just do my job. Always with dedication, commitment and love. When it comes to success, everything depends on what we call it. I have success that I care the
most about, that is, in my relations with other people. I am most satisfied with the relationship with my children, who are people with important values. I am also proud of myself and their dad that, despite our divorce, we are able to remain in good relations, full of respect and common concern for the welfare of our children. I have friends and many acquaintances. Kind-hearted relations with other people are a great success in life. This was due to the conviction that if you want to meet another person, you have to build a bridge, not a wall.
You became a Journalist of the Year in the USA, what is that feeling? Are you still engaged in journalism?
It was quite a long time ago, but with that period I have nice memories. It was a time full of meetings with interesting people. Currently I am associated with the Life Coaching
School, founded by me and Marcin Makowski 10 years ago. The Institute’s classes are held at the University of Loyola. I am a lecturer, I lead annual classes, I observe people changing their approach to life, often starting to appreciate it, even though they had only utilized it before. Besides, I conduct coaching sessions in the comfort of my private office. There I meet people who have decided to face themselves. My job is to build relationships with people – that which is what is of vital value to me.
For many years you were also a radio journalist, press journalist, lecturer, organizer of many cultural and entertainment events, and mom? Is it possible?
Honestly? At first it gave me a lot of fun, I got up at four in the morning and constantly met fascinating people, but it was very late to go to bed. However, I was not able to reconcile all the responsibilities at the same level when I became a mother. That’s why I asked myself what is most important to me at this stage of my life – and it turned out to be motherhood. For this reason, I have given up journalistic work and impressions. I left life-coach work, conducting sessions with individual clients and meeting with students at the university. I have eliminated the excess of career responsibilities for a greater amount of time spent with my closest ones. You can’t be on the radio, in the press office, at a university with students, in the office with clients, organizing big cultural events – and at the same time have enough time for children. I understood that the success is not a test in all areas – only the ability to make choices and give up something in favor of priorities.
I have learned to distinguish between the most important and the most important things. I said goodbye to these insignificant ones, I removed social media from the phone, I don’t
watch NEWS, etc. As my ex-husband used to say, you can’t have cakes and eat cakes at the same time. You can’t be in the eternal struggle between the editorial office, the office and the university and at the same time pretending to be a parent for your children. Simply setting an example is not enough for them – they need time spent with those who love them. Giving someone our time and attention we show him how valuable it is. I have been choosing motherhood and family in general for several years now. She is the polar star, both for me and my partner, and she is the polar star that shines the direction of our common way of life.
Do you write books about it, what is their main message? What was the reception of “the Boys’ Book that every girl should read”? Has it already been translated into English?
The book has not yet been translated. And it met with a very kind reception. Men even suspected that it was written under a pseudonym by a man. Many were surprised that I knew what it seemed they only knew. I have just finished a book for women. It is such a compendium of knowledge about us and the awareness that it is up to us to women to a large extent to what men walk on this earth. First of all, because we are their mothers and we raise sons as future adult men and at the same time husbands and partners, for future daughters-in-law. We show them how to treat women. What they learn from us or observe in us – they will „carry” further into the world….
Do you combine modernity with tradition?
I am a flexible person. Openness to innovations allows me to learn about innovations in various areas of life. However, the values that I believe in give me a strong foundation, thanks to which I know in which direction I am heading. My life compass shows me the place I’m going to, while development or innovation gives me new ways to get there. I choose the type of transport depending on the circumstances. There was a time when I was in charge of a racer, today I changed to a horse again and I still wonder if the mud would be better in this particular part of my life. Knowing that I can still choose an airplane, a rocket, a bicycle, a kayak, my own legs and much more, makes me move in such a way that I do not miss the place I am going to and reach it before dark. By
combining innovation with tradition, the road becomes an end in itself. The ground is not to be attached to one means of transport, because it may turn out that the scooter will not transport us across the ocean and then we will get stuck in a place where we were to make only a few days’ stop. Life is a journey, and the way to travel is through both traditional means of communication and innovative solutions. It makes no sense to try to cross the ocean by sitting on a mule. When you can do this without any problem with a ship or an airplane at your disposal.
How do you charge the batteries?
My biggest battery is the time spent with children. We love our company. Staying with your family is a source of strength and love and a sense of being loved.
Do you have any plans and dreams?
Plans and dreams are included in this coaching exercise, I described my vision of the future in it.
PRIORITIES AND PRINCIPLES DISCOVERING
THE MOST IMPORTANT THINGS FOR ME
My 85th birthday. Nice atmosphere. About 30 gathered guests. Three to four of them (a family member, a professional crescent, a friend) give toasts in my honor. Then, the
people raising a glass of champagne say: „(my name) is a man who ……………………………. I appreciate him/her for/because of …’. etc.
TOAST AROUNDED BY CHILDREN (Sonia 56, Max 53): Everything you did was filled with love. It is yours to a great extent due to the fact that today we are happy people. We love and we are loved. We accept ourselves, life and people as they are and we have a sense of self-esteem. You have taught us to see the most important things for us. We can make mistakes because we know that we have a right to them, but at the same time we are learning from them, taking responsibility for the decisions we make and the choices we make. We know that we have everything we need for happiness. We try to judge others, we try to understand them. We can give and get.
Even though you divorced our dad – thanks to your attitude we always knew that parting does not mean the end of love – because this feeling, even if people do not live under one roof, is still contained in mutual respect. Although you parted, you were still able to fulfil the duties you undertook before your divorce. You have remained our loving parents, treating each other with respect, speaking well about yourselves in our presence.
We are people who take full responsibility for their own lives. Mom, here is to you, you did a good job!
PARTNER TOAST: From the moment I met you to the present day, when you are 85 years old, you have always been my support and inspiration at the same time. We still enjoy life together, travelling around the world, nurturing the interests of each of us, appreciating the taste of morning coffee and admiring the sunsets from the swing on the veranda of our house. Maturation in a relationship, love based on acceptance and common experiences, partnership based on trust, mutual care, but also cultivating the individual space of each of us meant that, although we promised nothing to each other, we were always faithful to each other in every aspect of life, honest with each other and guided by common values.
Honey, thank you for being my best friend, a loving partner, a passionate lover, a beautiful woman in every respect, of whom I have always dreamt, and for whom I have also become a
fulfilled mature man, a companion on the road of life.
And one more thing I want to say on your 85th birthday: Living with you is a great adventure, during which you showed me that nobody belongs to anyone, and partnership
is a choice.
THE PERSON, USING FROM THE OPERATION OF MY PROFESSIONAL WORK:, Aniu, you managed to fulfill your life mission and achieve your financial goals at the same
time, doing what you love and always putting first man and time for your family and loved ones. For part of your life you were the only breadwinner of the family and you have managed to maintain the quality of life at an appropriate material, social, intellectual and spiritual level. You can be proud of yourself, because every success you have honestly earned and every achievement you have achieved, including financial ones, you have used to improve not only your life, but also that of other people in the world.