The Midlife Transition Series

Moving through MY midlife.Some researchers have argued that there is no such thing as a midlife crisis.  They say that it is not an actual event or crisis.

But just ask any therapist or life coach.  You will hear a different story.  We work with people in the midst of a midlife crisis (or trying to put the pieces of life back together after a crisis) on a regular basis.

The problem is the research assumptions.  Yes, everyone goes through adolescence.  And there are clear indications of this life stage.

But not everyone has a midlife crisis.  And the indications can vary from person to person.

If you are here, you probably aren’t doubting the reality of a midlife crisis.  You are probably trying to understand it or figure out what to do about it (or the damage from it).

I put together a series on midlife crises.  You can find the links to each episode in the series below.

MID LIFE TRANSITION SERIES:

4 Myths of a Mid Life Crisis

The Heart Of A Midlife Crisis

A Healthy Midlife Transition

Midlife Crisis or Depression?

My Midlife

The Happiness Trap

TheHappinessTrapHave you noticed how many books there are in the bookstore on how to be happy?

Which raises the question on why, in a recent poll, only 1/3rd of Americans claimed to be happy.

We have fallen into the “happiness trap,” chasing after happiness as if that is the goal of life.

It isn’t.

Over the past few weeks, I have been doing lots of interviews in lots of places about my new book, The Immutable Laws of Living.  In just about every interview, they ask me about the Immutable Law, “It isn’t about happiness.”  Some have even asked how that can be so, since the forefathers of the United States noted the right of “pursuit of happiness.”

First, their concept of happiness was far deeper than our current definition of a feeling of elation — usually about something that “happens.”  But second, pursuit is different than having.

When we chase happiness, it stays just out of reach.  Keeping us trapped in the chase… trying to find the next thing that will finally do it… only to find that it fails, too.

What’s the answer?

Listen to this episode to find the way out of the trap.

RELATED RESOURCES:
It’s Not About Happiness
Chasing Happiness Chases It Away
“I’m Just Not Happy”
Dealing With Down Days
The Immutable Laws of Living

When Your Ego Trips You Up

WhenEgoTripsA couple of episodes back, I discussed some lessons I have learned in my less-than-half a year in jiu jitsu.  One of my lessons was about “egoless learning.”  Several people asked what I meant by my ego being involved.  And what’s wrong with that… the ego?

Well, the ego tends to trip us up, throughout our lives.  Why?  Because our ego keeps us focused on how we appear, what others think of us, what we look like.  And because of that, we try to keep up an image.

And because of that, we trip.

Soon after I learned to scuba dive, I decided I wanted to become an instructor.  Partly because I wanted to learn more, partly because I enjoy teaching.

So, after some time of accumulating classes, dive time, and teaching experience, I was ready for my certification process.  It was supposed to be a learning event.  A place for me to learn more about teaching, got some feedback on how I was teaching, and demonstrated my capacity to teach.

They weren’t looking for me to be the best teacher.  I was at the beginning of my teaching.

That said, part of my task was to teach… so they could evaluate me and help me to be better.  And to get ready, I had practiced.  I created a killer PowerPoint.  I had “show and tells.”  I just knew they would see what an amazing teacher I was.  I would show them!

I finished.  They offered feedback.  The first piece, “You went 2 minutes longer than your limit.”  I was in the middle of a rebuttal, when I realized… I was not learning.  I was proving.  I was worried about my appearance.  My ego was there.

More feedback.  More temptation for rebuttal.  My ego tripped me up, and I knew it wasn’t the first time.  When ego appears, learning disappears.

Listen to this episode to hear how ego trips us up.

RELATED RESOURCES:
Lessons from Jiu Jitsu
Trial and Error Living
Life As An Experiment
Lessons Learned As A Chaplain

Surviving To Thriving

FromSurvivingToThrivingWe always start at survival.  You have to survive to do anything else.  Surviving is based in dealing with scarcity and threats.

Sometimes, people get stuck in survival mode… whether it is necessary or not.  For most people, survival mode is less a necessity and more a habit.

Then, we live.  Living is about finding comfort.  People to support you, work to do, things to enjoy.  And for many people, this is the stage that feels like success.  The paycheck and opportunity gives enough comfort to enjoy life.

So, many people get stuck in the live mode.

But then, there is the opportunity to thrive.

Survive >>>> Live >>>>> Thrive

What makes the shift?  Realizing that the living isn’t enough.  There is something more.  Something deeper and more satisfying.  It’s about finding your purpose, finding your deeper meaning, making an impact in the world.

It requires taking on the challenges, looking for the opportunities… growing and stretching.

While surviving is about scarcity, living is about comfort, thriving is about abundance.  It isn’t a change in what is around you, as much as a shift in perspective.

Listen to this week’s episode to learn more about making the shifts.

RELATED RESOURCES
Meaning and Purpose
Making An Impact
Building A Thriving Life

How To Forgive Yourself

HowToForgiveYourselfForgiving is an important skill.  When we forgive people for hurts and slights in the past, we get to free ourselves from those events.

(That skill is so important that I wrote a book about the process I created.  That book comes out in October.)

But what about forgiving yourself?

Why would you need to do that?

Because we all do thing, say things, fail to do and say things, that we regret. And those regrets can haunt us.  They can keep us stuck in the past… in events that are already over.

Sometimes, if another person is involved, they might not even remember what happened or what was said.  But you might continue to torture yourself, chastising yourself for what you said/did, didn’t say/didn’t do.

This requires another skill:  self-forgiveness.

Not just a way to get yourself off the hook.  Not just a way to gloss over what happened.  But a way to move forward.

How do you forgive yourself?  Listen to this week’s episode to find out!

RELATED RESOURCE:
Finding Self-Confidence
Building Self-Esteem
How to Forgive
New Book:  The Immutable Laws of Living

How To Build Your Self-Esteem

HowToBuildSelfEsteemSchools have based their teaching model on it.  Little league sports have revamped their approach on it.  Parenting has changed to help it.

What is IT?

Self-esteem.

Which is a great concept, at least in the way Nathanial Branden first proposed it.  Not so much in the way we have come to see it as “feeling good about yourself.”  Yep, Branden did want people to feel good about themselves, but not as the end point.  It was part of something bigger.

And when we use the current popular definition, research shows that self-esteem matters little in success, health, wealth, or happiness.

Does that mean we should give up on self-esteem?

Nope.

We just need to return to the original idea.  There is plenty we can do (and need to do) to build self-esteem — in a way that matters for happiness, meaning, purpose… and yes, success.

Learn how to build your self-esteem, in a way that matters, in this week’s podcast episode.

RELATED RESOURCE:
Finding Self-Confidence
Happiness Isn’t the Goal
What’s Your Purpose?
Make An Impact
New Book:  The Immutable Laws of Living

How To Find Your Confidence

HowToBuildSelfConfidenceWe all want confidence — SELF-confidence.  We want to be confident before we act.  In other words, I want to feel confident of myself before I move toward something.

Or maybe that’s just me!  🙂

But I think that comes at it from the wrong direction.  FEAR seems to be between us and action.  Mostly because of the order we have for action:

Confidence ==> Action ==> Success.

But instead, we have:

FEAR ==> Wait for Confidence ==> Keep Waiting

If you understandt the real flow, then you can step aside and let fear pass you by, letting you take action AND gain confidence.

Listen to this episode of the Thriveology Podcast to learn more.

RELATED RESOURCES:
Getting Un-Stuck
Fear Is A Given
New Book:  Immutable Laws Of Living

Control What You Can; Release The Rest

Rules for Living Series

Rules123It was interesting to see how much my client seemed to relish her self-diagnosed “issue” when she smilingly told me, “I’m a bit of a control freak. I just want things my way.  Mostly because I know how they should be.”

So, I asked that tough question, “How is that working out for you?”

The smile turned to tears as she told me how much pushback she was getting from people.  “They just don’t know better,” she assured me, letting me know that she just needed some better ways of getting people to follow her lead (ummm, demands).

My client was making a common mistake.  One that leads to misery — on her part and the part of others around her.  She was trying to control things she could not.  AND she was failing to control things she could.

The desire to control comes from fear.  We fear things won’t go well, won’t work out.  So, we innocently try to control things… the wrong things.

There are only a few things we can control. But when we switch from trying to control the things we cannot to the things we can, life opens up! Controlling what we can, it turns out, is enough.

In this week’s Thriveology Podcast, I cover another Rule for Living:  Control the Things You Can, and Release the Rest.  Listen below.

RULES OF LIVING SERIES
#1 Let Fear Point, Not Direct
#2 Be Present In The  Present
#3 Accept the Past and Revise the Future

Teach Others How To Treat You

Rules For Living Series

What Are The Rules For Living?“Why don’t they treat me the way I want to be treated?”, my client asked me.

So, I asked, “Have you taught them how to treat you?”

The silence let me know.  But after a pause, my client said, “I guess it never crossed my mind I needed to do that.”

The fact is that people do not know how we want to be treated… unless we are clear about how we are to be treated.  Otherwise, we get treated the way THEY want to treat US, and not the reverse.

In the end, that leaves people frustrated, defensive, and feeling mistreated.

Your BOUNDARIES are what lets people know how you want to be treated.  They are your “NO’s” of life.  Things you will not let people do to(wards) you.

If your boundaries are solid, you are already following this rule.  But if you find yourself being treated in ways you don’t want to be, time to start following this rule, “Teach others how to treat you.”

Listen to this week’s Thriveology Podcast for yet another Rule for Living.

RULES OF LIVING SERIES
#1 Let Fear Point, Not Direct
#2 Be Present In The  Present
#3 Accept the Past and Revise the Future

Find Freedom From Forgiving

Rules For Living Series

The Rules of Living Series:  Forgive to Move Forward.Have you ever noticed how many times, we get dragged into the past and the pain, even when those hurtful times are over?  Those remnants of the events can keep us stuck, frozen in the hurt and pain.

Unless we forgive.

That’s a big word, I know.  One that is packed with meaning… and not always helpful meanings.

In another podcast, I highlight my process for actually forgiving.  It is important enough that I have a book coming out on the Forgive Process (actually, the name of the book) in October.

In this episode, we discuss why it is so hard to forgive, why you should do it anyway, and why this is so important as a rule for living.  If you struggle with forgiving, please take a listen.  It might just change your mind!

RULES OF LIVING SERIES
#1 Let Fear Point, Not Direct
#2 Be Present In The  Present
#3 Accept the Past and Revise the Future
#4 Grieve Losses and Celebrate Gains