From the Editor

From Conflict to Peace of Mind

How to be Productive
Susan Vernicek
Written by Susan Vernicek

I sobbed that day because, while I felt so free, at the same time I also felt intense guilt. It was such a relief to be out of an uncomfortable and toxic atmosphere in that particular corporate environment.

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I’d like to share what I believe I’ve mastered when faced with circumstances in which I am in conflict with others or myself.


The holiday season is upon us and the last thing you and I want to discuss or even think about is conflict, right? Unfortunately, experiencing conflict with other individuals or even with ourselves is a reality, albeit sometimes a harsh one: It is also yet another layer on our wonderful journeys in this game of life. Nevertheless, conflict and all that comes with it can also lead to positives, such as learned lessons, changes in perspective, freeing resolutions and, eventually, peace of mind.

Identity Magazine is in its fifth month of celebrating our 10-year anniversary. Each month for every single one of those years, we have created a theme on which to focus: this month we’ve chosen to concentrate the experiences of conflict and guilt and how each of us reacts to those oh-so uncomfortable situations.

A story comes to mind in that vein: It was about 5 years ago when I was sitting in my car hysterically crying…

It happened at the moment I was let go from my first corporate job — the same one that I worked at hopefully and diligently for 5 years. I knew the ‘end time’ was near because my boss was aware that I was launching a magazine, and I had recently transitioned to part time status in order to prepare myself for becoming a full time entrepreneur. When the day actually came, however, I had no clue that I would experience such an onslaught and range of emotions.

I sobbed that day because, while I felt so free, at the same time I also felt intense guilt. It was such a relief to be out of an uncomfortable and toxic atmosphere in that particular corporate environment. At the same time, though, I felt extremely guilty because this was a period in which many people were losing jobs due to the tumultuous economy and needed work themselves. And, really, I had already begun an amazing journey into an entirely new, fulfilling career with the magazine. I felt selfish.

And so, I cried for a few minutes until I was able to pull myself together and drive home. Within minutes, my mindset unexpectedly shifted. It was then that I called two of my mentors and told them the day’s news and that I was ready for the next chapter of my career, my life: becoming a full time entrepreneur.

I’ve illustrated just one of many emotional conflicts during my life in the re-telling of that day — the day I was let go, but also, in ways, set free. After having prevailed through these experiences, (some life altering, others eventually insignificant in the scheme of things,) I’d like to share what I believe I’ve mastered when faced with circumstances in which I am in conflict with others or myself: Since I usually always feel guilty simply for being in the circumstance in the first place, I first allow myself some time to assess, reflect and truly understand my thoughts and feelings at the time. Next, I come up with a plan of action to resolve the issue that is causing or perpetuating the conflict.

I’ve gleaned that the key to mastering any moment of conflict or guilt is to understand oneself and how you best can handle these troubling circumstances. I am an action taker. I cannot sit on things and wait for an outcome to arise inevitably or by another’s hand. As such, I only allow myself a very brief lapse of time to have a pity party/reflection session before I forge ahead to figure out potential solutions as quickly as possible.

It turns out that I had a fascinating conversation about conflict with Karel Glazer on Blab recently. In it she shared her 4-step process on how to move through any conflict. In addition to her suggestions, here are my tried and true quick steps to moving through conflict or guilt and how to take action:

1. Absorb, reflect, process
2. Release all your emotions and negative energy
3. Plan your first positive action

Revisiting my last day of work on the day I described above…

1. I cried, lots. I also absorbed, reflected and processed all that had just occurred.
2. I released my initial thoughts and emotions in my car on that drive home. I also called my mom and my husband Rob, who was my boyfriend at the time, to further let it out and talk it out with those who I love and trust.
3. My strategy was to call my mentors and begin to make appointments to plan out the next steps on the path toward my new future.
4. Those steps included finding a weekend job and an affordable office to run the magazine from so that I could actualize my dream — and ultimate plan– be a fulltime entrepreneur Monday through Friday.
5. It was within 2 weeks that all of the above was scheduled and in which I found a job and office!

This is one story, one individual. Of course, we all might handle conflict within ourselves or with other people differently. Nonetheless, I believe that it can be extremely helpful to learn about others peoples’ tools and strategies so that each of us can have a robust list of resources to pick and choose for each unique circumstance.

During the holiday season, I tend to observe more stress and family conflict in those around me. So, it’s during this time of year in particular that I hope we can all remember to absorb and process, and then to express as much joy and love as possible to all of our fellow human beings. I emphasize this because, while many of us deal with conflict, guilt, and challenges during the other days of the year, the holiday season is a special time to truly rejoice and equally, to reflect upon how lucky we are to be alive, to be connected and to be loved.

Identity Magazine is all about empowering women to get all A’s in the game of life – Accept. Appreciate. Achieve.™ Every contributor and expert answer the Identity 5 questions in keeping with our theme. Their answers can be random and in the moment or they can be aligned with the above article. As a team, we hope to inspire and motivate ourselves and inspire you to get all A’s.

1. What have you accepted within your life, physically and/or mentally? What are you still working on accepting?

When it comes to conflict, I’ve accepted that I tend to respond and “argue” from emotions and my initial reactions.  I’ve learned to absorb and process before I speak. This is something I will forever have to work on!

2. What have you learn to appreciate about yourself and/or within your life, physically and mentally? What are you still working on to appreciate?

I appreciate being mindful of my flaws when it comes to conflict and guilt.  I appreciate that I know I need time to process before I respond.  There have been so may times back in my stubborn days where I just spoke out and used harsh words because I wasn’t thinking about what I was saying—which always created bigger conflict and greater guilt.

3. What is one of your most rewarding achievements in life? What makes YOU most proud? What goals and dreams do you still have?

Today as I write this article, I’m so proud that I made those phone calls on the way home from my last day of work.

4. We all have imperfections, so we think. The truth—we are all perfectly imperfect. What are your not-so-perfect ways? What imperfections and quirks create who you are—your Identity?

I have high expectations and sometimes that can ruin relationships.  In other cases, having high expectations can work in my favor.  

5. “I Love My…” is an outlet for you to express and appreciate all the positive traits that make you…well… YOU! Sharing what you love about yourself will make you smile, feel empowered, and uplift your spirit and soul. (we assure you!) Identity challenges you to complete the phrase “I Love My…?”

I love my abs.  I was blessed with good abdominal muscles and have fully bounced back after having twins 18 months ago! 🙂

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About the author

Susan Vernicek

Susan Vernicek

Facts about Susan Vernicek:
• She’s happily married and a mother of twins.

• She’s tried almost every fad diet back in her quick-fix days, admits at age 34 it’s a struggle to work hard on overall balance and is focused on not giving into the unhealthy fads we see daily.

• She’s all natural with natural blonde hair, uneven breasts, a bigger nose, and full of curves that she learns to appreciate more and more each day.

• She had a career where part of her job was staring at herself 40 hours a week manipulating her very own face as well as others.

• She’s the youngest of 7, ranging from 30-50+, an Aunt, Great Aunt and even younger than some of her nieces and nephews!

• She’s traveled and seen over 8 countries and spent a summer in London finding her passion and embracing life.

• She created S&J Identity, Inc. AKA Identity Magazine, having no business background and at the age of 25.