The power within us


Sometimes I think of writing a novel, no, seriously, the long one that people will read and analyze, recommend to their friends and families telling how much it made them think. Yes, it happens to me sometimes.
Well, though I love to write, I think that my longest novel will be a story of my life, full of events, adventures, surprises, and movement. My friends tell me to start writing it now because there is always something happening with me. True, but I am not sure everything will go through censure. Though after the 50 shades of Grey, I doubt we have it…
Sure I do lots of things. Business, tennis, horse back riding, reading, lots of walking and lots of eating and drinking. I love sports, but eating is a thing I can’t stop doing. I am happy I exercise, otherwise, I would already be huge… Living in Portugal and eating healthy – that’s a challenge. Last year I went on a diet and lost 8 kg, but it was soooo difficult that now I am trying to eat healthy and balanced. Sure exercise helps. Maybe one day I will share my way of eating, but I have to organize it first.
If we want something hard enough, we’ll do it. Even me, who can’t starve, made the diet happen for 6 months… That was a record, but I just wanted hard enough to lost the extra something that I was caring around. This is a work in progress, but the first steps were already made and I love the result.
If we want it, we will show up, we will push, we’ll put words in order on the paper or a Word file (with some variations on the means of writing). If not, then we get creative. I was very impressed with the level of creativity when it comes to making excuses. My fellow psychologists would be astonished, I guess…
Simply put, we have the power. We have the power to do everything we want to (as long as it’s legal). We just have to want it. I know what I want, I know that the results will follow. So let’s want it, people, everything else will follow! As a business person would say – make a business plan and go for it! My inner psychologist will suggest to analyze your childhood and understand why you have certain pattern and then eliminate them. My tennis player will tell you: “Hell, you’ve been practicing so much, just go on court and rock it!”

EU renews Russia sanctions

10440228_10204034208555773_2288309362274890101_n (2)Working with international business for several years. During this time I have been telling people and explaining what actually happened in Russia and how the sanctions were introduced. Even in Russia, many people think that food sanctions were introduced by the EU, US or other countries against Russia, but here I would like to stress that there were sanctions against Russia introduced by the EU, USA, Canada and Australia and there was a food embargo introduced as contra-sanctions by Russia itself.

I just want to explain to the exporters from all over the world. You can’t import products to Russia (some of them, not all), because Russia doesn’t allow it.

Moreover, it’s not the products that are under embargo, it’s HS codes (or customs codes). If you are producing canned fish, check carefully, it can happen that you are still allowed to supply this product to Russia and you don’t have to worry much.

There are international consultants or customs brokers that can help you with this issue.

My suggestion is to never assume, but study the issue and make a decision based on facts not on assumptions.

Working as an international business consultant brought me to many potential clients or current clients who “know” lots of stories, assumptions, myths or rumors which scare them off. I understand that, however, I always thought that the first rule of business is to check the facts and then act. This is my advice to the companies who want to expand – check the facts and then make your decision. Never act upon rumors. We live in the 21st century with accessible information, knowledge, contacts and everything you need to make a weighted decision. Normally, these tools are useful!

Source: EU renews Russia sanctions

Book review: Airport. Arthur Hailey

62221410400 pages of the aerophobic’s nightmare. It’s already night, but I can’t put this book down. I have more than 200 pages left, but I know I won’t be sleeping tonight. It’s already not a secret that I used to have a flight phobia, but now I am better. So to ready about a bomb in the airplane, about the laws of the 1960s when people could enter the airplane to say “Good bye” to their loved ones, about the exhaustion of the employees, – this is a challenge.

Strangely, I find myself in a quite comfortable position. I am not afraid, I don’t feel the approach of the panic attack. There is just the night, me and the book. Even though I feel the heat from our summer night, still, I am there, I am in that night of late 1960s, I am in the airplane with people suffering after the bomb explosion and praying for a safe landing, I am standing next to the Mr. Bakersfeld defending his views and conquering the attention of the public, I am sitting next to Mr. Patroni trying to get airplane of the Mexican airlines out from the runway… And I am sweating, sweating, sweating…

Then I find myself dreaming together with Arthur Hailey about the future of aviation, about the future itself. What will there be? What is waiting for us? I stop breathing at times because the plot is so intense that I can’t wait till the next page.

I can consider going through these 600 pages in 5 days as a personal record, but I didn’t just swallow the story, I’ve been there and that’s the best showcase of Mr. Hailey’s talent to keep capture your attention and never let it go.

After the Hotel, I thought that I would go for the whole line of Hailey’s stories and I was right to do so. Arthur Hailey shows the real life of the institutions I, as a traveler, always use in such a way that you find another level of respect to those people each time you turn the page.


Book review: To an unknown lady. André Maurois

Maurois.pngThis was my first book of André Maurois and I am sure now – not the last one. Easy to read though with heavy philosophy, giving out many ideas and making me think of life, love, relationships, friendships, lifestyle and many other subjects.

Like Anton Chekhov in his short stories, André Maurois doesn’t take more than 2 pages to cover one subject and he does it so well with so little words but goes so deep inside the issue that you want to learn by heart every sentence.

My University professor always told us to search for “metainformation” in the books – the information that provides us links to the other sources of information that will bring more to our studies and to our skills. This book is one huge source of metainformation. This book is the one to keep and come back to once in a while in search of wisdom, advice, and clarity.

André Maurois writes that we have to buy books which we want to spend the whole life with. I am happy that I found this book (or maybe this book found me?) because it will stay with me to help me during my life. I am sure I will come back to read these letters again and again.

Right, left or straight?

P_20170602_161313 (2).jpgWhat to do when nothing goes right, left is closed for renovation and the straight way looks suspicious?
Sure, you don’t want to go back… This would be a shame, a downfall or a simple misunderstanding that you would never forget. The only option that is left is to stay at your place and watch… Well, not only watch, but also do, try, read, write, cry, scream (maybe not that one, but, then again, why not?), laugh, run, exercise (there are lots of fitness gurus on Youtube or Instagram, now I know).
I am sure it happens to everyone. Nowadays, it’s neither fun nor a good image-building strategy to write about stuff like that. Some people mention troubles as a mild illness when they don’t want to do anything and suggest their followers not to do anything as well – “take time for yourself and reflect”. Some people promote fitness as a good stress relief method, some people go for healthy food and diets, a bit of chocolate to not to kill yourself on the way.
Sorry, people, but this doesn’t work for everyone. If you manage to persuade your depression to go out and smoke while you take care of your troubles, tons of reports that were due yesterday, love-life problems or, what’s even worse, – existential ideas, – you are already doing great!
I agree with some of these gurus – you have to do something. Whether you remember your cooking lessons that you took in a 3rd grade, knitting, well, sure, exercising will help if you can drag yourself from the computer or, which is worse, from your bed, and go out (don’t forget to look out and check if, by any chance, the “one-in-100-years” storm hasn’t decided to pass by your area), cleaning helps as it brings you an idea of cleaning out all the problems.
I write… I know it’s not a good thing to say as I am sure I will scare many of my readers, but when I start writing every day… Well, there is something going on in my life. But then again, I write for myself and then I enjoy several months of not writing as my muse leaves me together with all the problems and comes back together with them. Writing while happy doesn’t count, here my muse happily returns to support my exciting and sometimes poetic experiments. Not sure I love her for that!
So the first suggestion for doing something would be – DO SOMETHING. Simple, right. Well, not that much! Whatever it is, but don’t sit down and swallow all the problems, tears and existential thoughts that you might develop during this time.
Second – sleep. I know it’s difficult as during these time the best way of using your pillow is to cry on it. Forget it! The pillow is a nice friend that will absorb all your tears and then… SLEEP. Arianna Huffington became a guru of sleeping, listen to her. Believe me, there also many youtube videos with her inspirational talks about the value of sleep. I would suggest this one as it is quite an entertaining video that is short enough to not to make you too sleepy. Apparently, Arianna had to fall, kill her chin and get some stitches on her forehead to understand the value of sleep. Please don’t go that far. I am not sure all of us could afford a nice facial surgery as Arianna managed to have.
Third – kick yourself out of this whining state. Talk to your friends (yes, they are out there, even though you don’t believe that now), talk to your mentors (I am happy to have one), watch some TED talks (love it, can’t skip suggesting it), work, write, remember your hobbies.
This is just our state of mind. I always do my best to be as conscious as possible during good or bad moments. Yes, good moments work as well. Both bad and good states are extremes that happen to us. We can’t avoid it, but we can try to control our reaction to that. If we allow ourself to be extremely happy during good moments and give yourself time to grieve, then you can also tell yourself at one point: “ok, me, I am tired of being tired (being sick, crying, winning – you chose), I am out of this place!”.

Book review: The Bull’s Hour. Ivan Efremov

efr2What is a good book for me? The one that makes me think, that inspires me to go further, to learn more, discover something unknown and untried. That’s how this particular book influenced me. It inspired 2 articles, it made me google lots of information and statistics, it encouraged me to read more about our world, science, psychology, history, it made me reflect on our contemporary way of living… or to say “existing”. It made me rethink some of the concepts and values of my own life. I am really thankful to the author for writing this amazing book.

Even though it feels like we live on the planet “Tormans”, there is a hope that one day we will exit “Inferno”!

Review: Hotel Pastis: A Novel of Provence

Peter MayleOne more delicious piece with a flavor of Province and long soft aftertaste. Every time I read Peter Mayle’s books they bring a smile to my face and sleepless nights. It’s impossible to put down his books, I love his simple style and entertaining plots. Once more time I catch myself missing Province and simple life only me and me.

Peter Mayle is good for entertaining, for tough times to remember that life is full of surprises and for any time when you want a good friend to let you know that after rough periods there are always good times coming to bring you joy and happiness. I haven’t found such books yet and I hope for a new story from Peter Mayle.

Original review is on Goodreads

Happy birthday, my friend!

Merle1My dear friend, you know I love you very much! I feel so comfortable with you. Your family became my escape place, where I would feel free and accepted, whatever I would do or however I would feel.
You are an example for me of a calm, patient and reasonable person.
Your family became an example of care and kindness. I am always happy to share a dinner or have our usual “Saturday date” with you and sushi 🙂
I am so happy I have met you in my life. When the times are tough, I remember that I have you and your support. This helps me go through these times and keep my conscious clear.
Today is your day. You became one year wiser, but I am not there to share this day with you. You know I wanted to be with you, but the circumstances decided otherwise. Well, I am with you anyways. People say that love doesn’t survive the distance, but you know that friendship does! I love you a lot and I am there for you. I wish you to have an amazing day with your family and friends. I am sure Miguel will take care of the cake 🙂
I wish you health, love, care, beautiful and healthy child and a caring and loving boyfriend next to you. You already have all of this, but I would like it to continue and grow.
I am coming back very soon, but now… Happy birthday, my dear! You are wonderful! Thank you for being in my life!

Notes of the Guardian Angel

I am just an ordinary creature. Pale, white clothes, wings, some emotions, some sarcasm, incredibly interested in my job. Yes, well, I am a guardian angel. I can’t be photographed, so no images here.

I was introduced to my baby a long time ago… She was so tiny inside her mommy. She was such a sweetheart. Don’t know where the rest of it came from. We became such a good friends. She was always listening to me, sometimes even responding. She is very intuitive, so listens and feels very well. Sure, she didn’t know she was talking to me, but she was actually talking. We had conversations, played and laughed.

She was a different child. Never liked to play with girls. Always ran and fought with boys, loved to chase them and even responded when someone would try to hurt her. I loved her for her fighting spirit and for her kind heart.

She always protected the innocent and tried to do the justice. I did my best to help her and make sure she is secure. She had a tough childhood, but, well, that was good for her. She grew up a strong woman… As she always referred to herself – the survivor. It’s true. Sometimes I was wondering. I know many of my colleagues who keep caring their babies along their lives and those are complaining a lot that their angel was not there when they needed him or something like that.

You know what, people, we are always there! The funniest thing is that they complain exactly after my friends hold them tight and carry them from one safe place to another. Their babies become so spoiled that they don’t even want to walk by themselves anymore.

My baby? Neee, she was an exceptional one. She never even allowed me to carry her. Though after some rough times she’d allow me to hug her and softly touch her forehead to help her fall asleep. She would sleep so softly, so calm… to wake up full of energy and power to solve the problem, to kill it and move on even stronger.

I was wondering why she would do that. How is it possible that she was so different?! Tough childhood? Professional sports? Rough parents or their divorce during her growing up? I still didn’t figure it out, just know for sure that my job is pretty easy here. Only sometimes I need to direct her to the right way as she tends to slip every time she faces the problem to solve or too much work or too many people.

She has many stories to tell but doesn’t want to. I already talked to her several times in her dreams… She is too shy to share even though you would never call her shy. Well, I am allowed to tell you my story, also with her permission (from her sleeping mood, but I hope it works as well).

To be continued…

Small cultural details. Flowers

P_20170526_113055_BF_1 (2)I have been caring this topic in my mind for several years and didn’t know how to approach it. Our latest trip to Russia together with my Portuguese business partner made me finally get to my blog and write.
Flowers!!! Russian girls love them. We have a tradition of receiving flowers. Holidays, dates, arrival from a trip, birth of a child, – these are the reasons to receive flowers for us. I miss this tradition in Portugal. Somehow, it didn’t reach this country yet. Probably, it’s walking there so it will take some time to arrive. Men are romantic and sweet, carrying and nice, but flowers… That’s difficult. My Russian girlfriends understand me and share my feelings about this topic. Portuguese girls support me and also want flowers, but think that it’s impossible to make Portuguese guys bring them. Let’s prove them wrong! 🙂
This post is for the Portuguese guys. We do love flowers, guys. This love doesn’t depend on nationality or religion. We like to be surprised and know that you were thinking of us when we were away; that you like to see us smiling and shining. Believe me, you will have a very nice steak or even “bacalhão” if you make an effort and pass by a supermarket to buy some flowers for your lovely lady.
Let’s break the routine and give flowers to the women at least once a month. You will see the sparkle in their eyes and I am sure you will love it! Don’t forget about “beijocas” as well 🙂

To be lost in London

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I know many people who don’t like to be lost. This brings lots of fears from the past (sure, as a psychologist I do have to mention that), anxiety, frustration, anger… all these emotions are not positive and not at all therapeutic. You find yourself in the middle of the city, or woods or wherever you are, not knowing where to go or what to do, trying to use your skills or lack of them to find your way back to the safe place.

I like to be lost, though. It’s better to be prepared for that, but I prefer this way to learn about the local life of a place I am in, to see something that you’d never see if you asked Google to help you plan your trip.

I’ve been lost in Paris, Stockholm, Moscow (a bit more difficult for me as I am local, but still possible), and yesterday I got lost in London. This was not a prepared. I was returning from a grocery shopping with two big bags of food and turned to the wrong street. This turn cost me another 1 hour of wandering around the South West area of London! Though, the weather was nice – surprise! The area is even nicer as, apparently, it’s a wealthy region of London with clean and rich-looking houses, big windows without curtains, huge cars parked along the street and beautiful gardens around.

It was very curious to see the everyday life of local people (well, yes, I am not sure if they are actually local, but they live here). It looks so relaxed after work, so homie, so clean, so British. Somehow, I am starting to like this city again.

I’ve been longing to visit London since I was a child. Something was captivating my mind, I was curious to see the real London. Last year I came here for the first time and London welcomed me with a stereotypical British coldness. Everything bad that could have happened… happened. That trip was also remembered as the first time ever when I lost the plane because we were late to the airport due to the traffic jam on the highway. Even though we brought a good weather with the sun to the October in London, I don’t have much of good memories from it.


Now, I am sitting in the London’s apartment, looking outside to the rainy courtyard, getting ready for the whole day of meetings, and it makes me smile. I do like London, that love that I had didn’t leave me. It grew bigger. Yesterday I brought a good weather from Portugal again. It was a rare day of sun and warmth. The taxi driver couldn’t stop thanking me for that. I do like British people, British sarcastic humor, British writers, culture, architecture, even all the events that usually accompany my trips to the UK, – they are the part of this city for me now.

When I was lost yesterday, I felt safe. I knew nothing would happen to me so I allowed myself to wander around, to check the places, the gardens, to feel the smell of the city. Our smell receptors are the most powerful and the smell memory is the best one. We always remember the smell, so be careful with this sense. Being lost doesn’t mean you are vulnerable. I think being lost is letting go, allowing yourself to go with a flow. It doesn’t mean losing control, it means refocusing. We can’t control everything, but we can control how we react to the situations.

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Don’t be afraid of being lost. This can bring you lots of discoveries and new emotions that you’d never find otherwise.

“So this is love”


I haven’t been with my blog for some time even though I always had my writings with me in my mind. The amount of my business trips increased this year so I didn’t have many opportunities to write. Jet lag and airplanes don’t leave much time for personal blogging.

Enough complaining and let’s see what I wanted to share with you in this post 🙂

Here I am writing about happiness and smiles. I am interested in what makes people smile, – why, when and for how long. Whether they love it and smile all the time, forget about it, take it for granted, don’t like it, feel ashamed of it (yes, that also happens sometimes). I have my own business so, surely, I am curious about my fellow businessmen and their way to feel happiness and project it.

Lately, I read several beautiful and very deep books on happiness and self-development, for example, “The Art of Happiness” by Dalai Lama XIV and Howard C. Cutler, and “The Monk who sold his Ferrari…” by Robin Sharma. These books make the difference and force you to think about lots of different aspects of your life, thoughts and actions.

I think that books I’ve been reading lately and the felling they provoked made me stop and read the story by HuffPost about a loving old couple. It reminded me that the best things in life are very simple – love, care, achievements, family, friends… books.

I was never a fast reader and that made me uncomfortable reading at all. I was always late with reading at school, sometimes skipping the books from our reading lists for summer. I never understood and always admired people who could read fast and actually remember afterwords what they had read. Now I found my own pace of reading. Yes, I put some challenges on GoodReads, but it doesn’t matter for me if I meet them at the end of the year or not. As long as I am enjoying my books, as long as I take something from them, that’s enough for me to be satisfied and to be grateful to those people who took their time to share their thoughts, humor and knowledge with me.

This is the love letter to those writers who dedicate their time to writing, struggling with composing the sentences in the one coherent structure, as Peter Mayle said in one of his books. Hope to find more great books to read and share. If you are a books fan as well and if you have finished reading my post here, I’d be glad to connect with you on GoodReads! You can find me as Olesya Leschuk.

Merry Christmas and a Happy New year

I would like to send the best wishes to my friends. It’s been a very interesting year with lots of challenges, new people, new projects and new opportunities. I am looking forward to the new 2016 year that will for sure bring lots of smiles and new challenges to all of us! Keep smiling and have a wonderful holiday time! Get ready for an incredible year ahead!

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Jack Jacoby – The Great CEO

When I started asking these questions, I never thought I would have so many responses from top-managers all over the world! It’s overwhelming to receive them and see different opinions on this seemingly simple issue – positivity and smiles. However, this is a very serious issue as positivity in life is one of the components of success in business. Without enjoying the job you do or business you start, it will be extremely difficult, if not impossible, to succeed.
JackToday I am honored to share the views on this issue from the Master strategist, corporate problem solver, mentor, coach and innovator, the author of several books and articles, chairman in CEO Institute in Australia, – Jack Jacoby.
When I received the answers from Jack, I was surprised, honored, it made me smile and realize that this issue is actually not that simple. So let’s move on and see what Jack thinks about smiling and positive thinking.

Olesya (OL): How long have you been a CEO of your company?

Jack Jacoby (JJ): I have been CEO of my business since 1st February 1997.

OL: What made you chose your industry?

JJ: Life’s experiences and circumstances chose it for me – I had little choice but to follow my destiny.

OL: Please remember the last time you were stuck, unmotivated. What made you move on? What motivated you to get up the next day and do your job to the best of your abilities?

JJ: The belief that I was worthy of achieving what I wanted, but such achievement would not happen without my effort and focus. The desire to avoid having regrets about not trying was a major stimulus. There is always plenty of time to do nothing – when you’re dead.

OL: What actually makes you smile? It doesn’t have to be business only… You just remember what was that made you feel great and made you smile last time.

JJ: The thing that really moves me and makes me smile is seeing one person’s kindness and compassion to another.

OL: How do you relax? Or do you relax at all?

JJ: I don’t really relax – I just move from one type of activity to another, one that uses one type of skill or attribute to another that uses other parts of me. In that way, I rest the tired bits of me by using other bits. Rarely are all bits tired.

OL: What do you do during your weekend?

JJ: Weekends are spent juggling work, family, friends and other activities. I spend a lot of time with my grown up children and my grandchildren.

OL: Do you have any hobbies? If yes, which ones?

JJ: My hobby is writing – articles, books, blogs on any topic that ignites my imagination or strokes my passion.

OL: What would you suggest to the CEOs on balancing their professional and personal lives?

JJ: Every person is different so it’s hard to provide a universal ‘rule’. Rather, it’s important for people to reflect on their lives to identify what’s important and what’s not. Different things take on greater importance at different times. Bottom line I suppose is that if it’s important to you now, then you must find time for it somehow – otherwise, that which is important, may be lost to you forever – and that is the cause of much sadness and regret.
Huge thanks to Jack Jacoby for sharing with me the ideas on work, rest, and self-reflection.
After writing the post I usually send it back for approval. When we started chatting with Jack about the interview, we went on to discuss different topics and finished on the learning process. Then Jack sent me something that I thought of sharing right away and here it is:
“Life is a journey and learning is the wind that blows in our sails that enable us to move forward. Without learning, our journey is finished; but with learning, a new world and its opportunities open up to us every day. Just imagine how much learning we can gain from every storm when the wind is strongest?”
It made me smile and think of every storm I’d been to and how much I learned by going through it…
Keep up with our invited guests and we will share with you more insights on life-work balance and… smiles.