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Soul Work

The Power from Within






By Maria Sykorova-Pritz, EdD





Reprinted from Akwa magazine (October November 2016)​

“Stay away from conflictive, negative people that pull you down, because they contaminate your energy and impede your progress. Search for people who look at the world with optimism, that inspire you, make you happy and provide peace of mind.” ~ Pablo

Many of us walk around feeling powerless. This translates into many areas of life. One can procrastinate and fail at achieving work goals; one can fail to control compulsion; or one can fear rejection and fail to start a conversation.

Authentic power is the ability to live fully, with few regrets, and fewer recriminations. When we are internally free to pursue our desire, we experience neither excessive apathy nor doubt, and we remain untroubled by fear of failure or of success. Dominance is not the same thing as authentic power. In fact, those who rely on dominating others to establish their own self-strength are often covering over an underlying sense of weakness, and often doubt whether they are authentically loved.

Each of us has some combination of weaknesses and strengths.  Inner strength refers to the ability to stand by our decisions. It can also be called self-discipline or willpower. People with inner strength are able to do what is best, even if it is not the most enjoyable thing to do. Finding inner strength involves recognizing that we are valuable and deserve to be treated as such. Stay away from people who are constantly negative, selfish, cruel and demanding, and spend time enjoying the company of people who are loving, supportive, creative and fun. Affirmations can help to boost your focus and improve your determination, aiding in the quest to find greater reserves of inner strength.

Focusing on your greatest passions can also help you to find your inner strength. Choose to be happy by spending time on things that excite you and make you smile. Remember to be grateful for everything you have, and revel in those gifts every day. When life is hard, try to figure out what lessons you can learn from this difficult situation. Look for ways to solve your problems and look for blessings in disguise. In addition, remember that part of having a positive attitude involves being generous and caring towards others. Listen to people, try to help them with their struggles, and forgive them when they offer a sincere apology.

The day-to-day stress you carry around from work, raising a family and managing a household budget can begin to wear on you, chipping away at your inner strength. Find ways to reduce your stress, whether that is going for a run, meditating, taking a bath or enjoying your favorite book. If you find yourself in a stressful situation, learn to walk away or steal a moment for yourself to calm down. When you prioritize relaxing, you’ll be a better you, and be better able to handle whatever comes your way.

It’s easy to focus on the negatives. Having someone to listen to your problems and help you see the light at the end of the tunnel can help you find inner strength and feel more confident in decisions. In the same manner, you can learn to appreciate what you have by helping those who have less. Temporary setbacks have a way of becoming all consuming. Instead of letting negative energy get to you, try to make yourself look at what you want to come next in your journey.

While Facebook offers a great way to stay in touch with friends, social media also cultivates a society of comparison. It’s easy to look at what others are doing and feel inadequate because you’re not at the same stage in life. Just because you don’t have your dream job or dream house yet, it doesn’t mean you won’t get there. And remember, just as you only share your successes on social media, so does everyone else. Everyone has his or her own struggles.

The soul is defined as the principle of life, feeling, thought, and action in humans; regarded as a distinct entity, separate from the body. The soul is commonly held to be separable in existence from the body. Work that soothes, comforts, and reaffirms our deep values and beliefs we call “Soul Work”.  Soul Work is based on a positive work attitude and motivation.  Intended to improve quality of life while at the same time challenging us to give meaning and purpose to life. The "soul of our work" lies in the long lasting satisfaction, which only personal growth through motivating work can provide. The short-lived joy of amusement cannot compare to the genuine fulfillment of meaningful, creative, and challenging work.

There are many things that can motivate people. Some are internal (e.g. beliefs, needs, interests), while others are external (e.g. peer pressure, safety, the environment). There is no simple formula for motivation – this is an open viewpoint of human nature. There is a complex array of forces steering the direction of each person, which cannot always be seen or studied. If the same forces are steering two different people, each one may react differently.

As health fitness professionals, we have the power to influence motivation of other individuals. The following guidelines form a basic view of motivation and were adapted from the 1973 US Army Handbook:

1.     Allow the needs of your clients to coincide with the purpose/ goal of your fitness program.  Ensure that your client is encouraged, trained, and has opportunities to advance. Also, ensure that the way you conduct business has the same values, and moral and ethical principles that you seek in others. If you conduct business in a dishonest manner, your clients will be dishonest to you; for that will be the kind of people for that you will attract.

2.     Reward good behavior. Although a “Thank You” may seem small and insignificant, these two words can be powerful motivators. The reward should be specific and prompt. Avoid generalizations, such as “doing good job”, rather cite the specific action that made you believe it was indeed a good job.

3.     Set the example.  You must be the role model that you want others to grow into. As Mahatma Gandhi said. “We must become the change we want to see.”

4.     Develop morale and “Team Spirit”.  Morale is the mental, emotional, and spiritual state of a person. Almost everything you do will have an impact on your practice. You should always be aware how much your action and decisions might affect it. “Esprit de corps” means “team spirit”; team spirit creates a feeling of inclusion and value.

5.     Allow your clients to be part of the planning and problem solving process.  This helps with your client’s development and also allows you to coach them to greater things. Additionally, they become motivated.  People who are part of decision-making process feel ownership, thus it creates a personal interest in seeing the plan succeed. Each person has a better understanding of what role he/she must play within the group. Being actively involved creates an open, trusting communication bond. Finally, recognition and appreciation from a respected leader are powerful motivators.

6.     Look out for your clients.  Although you do not have control over the personal lives of your clients, you must show concern for them. Things that seem of no importance to you might be extremely critical to someone else. You must be able to empathize with them.


Soul Work will guide you forward in life with authentic power and inner strength. As you find your power within, you will be better prepared to help others in your life! 



  • Gregor T. 2013.  Psychologia Sportu. Mauro Slovakia s.r.o. Slovakia; ISBN 978-80-968092-7-1.
  • Gerard, R.  2002. Change Your DNA, Change Your Life! Port Washington, NY: Oughten House Foundation, Inc.
  • Pink, D. 2009. Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us. New York: Penguin Group (USA).
  • Psychology today; https://www.psychologytoday.com/basics/motivation
  • U.S. Army Handbook, 1973.



Dr.  Maria Sykorova Pritz, EdD, is an exercise physiologist with 34 years of experience who implements a unique integration of both traditional exercise science and clinical exercise physiology. Maria combines academic knowledge with hands on experience in functional fitness and pain management via land-based and aquatic fitness. Her unique training method (SykorovaSynchro Method℠) involves integration of multi-disciplinary techniques to achieve overall health and optimized performance.  Maria was awarded the AEA 2020 Lifetime Achievement Global Award and is currently a faculty member of ATRI, author, presenter and continuing education developer for FLS/NAFC.

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