What’s Your Challenge??

How to challenge yourself and grow!Are you up for a challenge?

In the last episode of my podcast, I discussed how to hold on when life is tough.  That’s when life is challenging you.

But what about when life isn’t so challenging… where life is copacetic?  Just cruising.

It’s my observation that we work hard to keep life flat.  We work hard to keep things smooth.  Cold out?  Turn on the heater.  Hot out?  Turn on the A/C.  Keep things even… even-keeled.  Flat.

We spend LOTS of energy to save the energy of dealing witb challenges, big or small.

But does that help (or harm) us?  Does it keep us safe or make us fragile?

What if taking on small challenges actually gets us better prepared for bigger challenges?  What if making choices to expand into life helps us deal with life encroaching upon us?

One of my “things” is to find little challenges for myself… new things to try, new activities to do, new tastes or sounds to take in, and new ways to try life.

How about you?  What challenges are you taking on right now?

Listen to this episode of the Thriveology Podcast to discover the power of a challenge.

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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 is The Forgive Process.)

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 podcast episode to find out!

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When Life Knocks You Down

What to do when life knocks you down.  Time to get back up and thrive.Life has a way of knocking us down.  Every single person.  Life hits hard sometimes, and softer sometimes.  But life will knock us down.  Not once.  Not twice.  But many times.

Many people get stuck trying to figure out what it means.  I am more focused on what we do.

How do we keep moving forward?  How do we find our balance again?  How do we face another day?

But there it is, right there.  There will be another day.  The sun will rise again tomorrow.  Which is why we have to decide how we are going to respond when life trips us up and knocks us down.

In this episode of the Thriveology Podcast, I discuss how we can thrive through the tough times (even because of the tough times) and find a path through life, even when life bumps us and trips us… even knocks us down.

Listen below.

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Does Everything Happen for a Reason?

Does everything happen for a reason?In recent days, I have been with people in the middle of horrific losses.  Inevitably, someone steps up  and in an attempt to comfort, says, “Everything happens for a reason.”

That comment is rarely comforting in the painful moments.

But deeper than that, is it even true?

Many people default to this as a reaction to something that happens and is outside of our capacity to understand.

Sometimes, we want to think that there is something behind it — not just some random event.  But what does that phrase mean?  Does it mean that some force is trying to teach some lesson?

For many people, the answer is yes.

But does that make it so?

Does everything happen for a reason? Given all that is going on these days, this question seems particularly important.

Let’s chat. . .

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Growth Mindset In The Pandemic

Coping with COVID

2020.   ¯\_(?)_/¯  Am I right?  And we just keep stretching on into 2021.  The pandemic isn’t over, the virus isn’t gone.  And here we still are.

Having a growth mindset in the midst of a pandemic.Thriving?

Stuck?

Research psychologist, Carol Dweck, says that there are two mindsets we can have:  fixed and growth.

In the fixed mindset, we think we are just the way we are.  Our personalities and skills are just a part of who we are.  “A natural athlete/writer/salesman/comedian,” or whatever else.  We just are born with those skills… or personalities.

In a growth mindset, we can learn… grow and change.  We can get better in something we want to improve.  No, that doesn’t mean that anyone can be a world-class athlete.  But if I want to improve my abilities, I can.  If I want to shoot better free-throws, I can practice.  If I want to improve my writing, I can practice.  I can get better through, learning, effort, and practice.

It seems obvious when we look at it that way, but many of us accidentally fall into a fixed mindset, both of ourselves and others.  Experts change their recommendations, and we can either see that as a failure on their part, “wishy-washy” and up to no good.  Or we can see that they, too, are learning and sharing from what they are learning.  Fixed or growth.

And we can also look at how we, ourselves, are learning to shift, pivot, alter, and change our lives in the face of a pandemic.  When we get back to normal, it won’t be the normal of December 2020.  It will be different.  How will we shift?

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Clean and Dirty Pain

Which one are you feeling?

CleanDirtyPainAnyone who tells you that you can go through life without getting hurt and feeling pain is either lying or hiding.

Life is rough-and-tumble.  Pain is unavoidable.

But there is a type of pain that we can leave behind.  That is more a result of our own thinking than anything external, any injury either physical or emotional.

Call it “Dirty Pain.”  Which is distinguished from “Clean Pain.”  Clean pain, that is the initial hurt.  When you hit your foot, it hurts.  That is the bodily response to the injury.  When someone says something to you that is mean and spiteful, your feelings are hurt.  That is the emotional pain.  It is initial.

But what if you chastise yourself about your being “clutsy,” or about your “stupid action” that led to that foot injury?  Or what if you made that hurtful comment about you, and not about the person who said it?  What if you kept dwelling about it?

Let me be clear:  it is fine to ask how you might prevent an injury in the future.  It is fine to listen to feedback from others, that might give you some insight into things you need to change.

It’s the next step after that.  When you keep berating yourself.  It’s when you take the next step… you attach to the pain.  Buddhism refers to that as suffering.  You and I can think of it as “Dirty Pain” (a term coined by ACT – a mode of therapy).  It is dirtied by our own mental state — not the cause of the pain.

What do you do about that?  We discuss it in this week’s Thriveology Podcast.  Listen below.

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From “If” to “Is”

Why “If” keeps you stuck… and how to shift

Are you stuck in the “If’s” of life:  What if, If only, Only if?  Shift to Is.. What ISAt the beginning of my career, I was a hospital chaplain.  One of my tasks was to help people accept what was going on… to accept the diagnosis, the outcome of an accident or tragedy, to accept the changes.  Interestingly, many times, it seemed that those wanting the person to “accept” were really looking for resignation.  Kind of giving up.

I think our understanding of acceptance has expanded since then.  But that doesn’t make it any easier.

You see, we all want some “alternate reality,” some different space where things didn’t, aren’t, or won’t happen.  Where we get to choose to undo/redo, or not do what we don’t like.  The alternate reality where things happened or happen or will happen differently.

Except they don’t.  They happened as they did.  They are happening as they are.  And they will happen as they will.

Yes, we have some control about what we do in this moment, and what we will do to move toward the next.  But not enough to create our alternate reality where we get to choose everything (we do get to choose our own response, though).

There are 3 “If’s” we play out in our mind.  One shift matters, if we want to thrive.  The shift to “Is.”

I unpack what that is about and talk about how we can make the shift in this episode of the Thriveology Podcast.

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5 Lessons from 55 Trips Around the Sun

5 lessons I’ve learned from my 55 years on earth. Another year has passed.  I added a year to when I answer, “How old are you?”  Well, at least in theory.  I am an unreliable narrator for reporting my age.  By accident.  But on a repeated basis.

That said, as I recorded this episode of the podcast, and write these words, I am celebrating 55 trips around the sun (and I complain I don’t get to travel much!).

I’m not sure about claiming wisdom, but I do claim some lessons from those years.  Lessons I keep learning and relearning.  Lessons I must remind myself about.  But lessons that matter to my life.

While there are quite a few, 5 seemed to be appropriate for 55 years.  5 lessons from 55 years on this earth!

I’d love to hear the lessons you’ve learned!  And I’d love to hear any questions or thoughts you might have about thriving.  But until then, listen in on the 5 lessons I have learned (and keep learning), and let me know if they are lessons you share.

Listen below.

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What A Year!

Coping with COVID Series

What a year it has been!  The effects of COVID on all of us.What a year!  It was one year ago this week that I was on my last business trip.  I was at an event with my publisher.  Already, we knew COVID was out, and knew it was gaining steam.  Other countries had already gone into lockdown… and the US was on the precipice.

While I was away, my wife and I were coordinating with our adult children, trying to make sure we could get them to our home before travel was locked down.  That weekend, both came home.

We thought it might be a number of weeks.  They were thinking two to three.  I was thinking a month or a bit more.

That ended up being months on end.  They spent more of 2020 in our home than in their own places.

The economy screeched to a halt, trips were canceled, schools were closed.  And our medical system started to strain, faltering under the weight of one illness closing off some areas, while filling others.

It seemed like every day, there was some new shift, new discovery, new point of vulnerability.  And in its wake, we, as a country and a world, strained to cope.  The grief poured out in anger and despair.  Some continued their grief in the world of denial.

And still, the numbers climbed.  Families lost loved ones.  Spouses lost partners.  The world lost citizens.  To the point that we could no longer truly comprehend the numbers.  Some people recalculated by throwing caution to the wind.  Others recalibrated to a life in isolation, hoping that was safe.

One year later.  What a year!

Oh, and it isn’t over!  Although there are plenty of places and people trying to move on, we are still in the midst of a crisis.  While there is a place, in the not-so-distant future, where we get back to a life much more similar to a bit more than a year ago, we aren’t there yet.

And we are also now seeing that the pandemic will not end equally.  It hasn’t impacted citizens equally, and the end will come just as unequally.  But it will come.  How do we get there?  I hope together, and I hope a bit wiser.

In this week’s Thriveology Podcast, I think about the shifts and impacts of this past year.

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Your Heaven on Earth

It is so easy to get pulled into threats and dangers, mishaps and mistakes.  It is wired into our brain to have a focus on the negative.  Which is too bad.  That means we are more likely to miss the good moments, the highlights of life, in favor of the down moments.  We clearly see the negative, but can miss the positive.

Unless, of course, we nurture a focus on the positive.  Unless we look for those moments of “heaven on earth.”

What are your moments of heaven?

Martin Rutte, Project Heaven On EarthMartin Rutte spent his career helping companies enter into dialogue for transformation.  He led difficult discussions so that company cultures could transform.  Dialogue is a powerful tool of exploration.  Which, unfortunately, is often replaced by debate in our culture.  That is what happens when we stop listening, demanding our own viewpoint.  Martin has worked to shift from the hell of debate to the heaven of dialogue.

And that led him to wonder what we might be able to do to shift our world in a better direction.  So, he started wondering about those moments of heaven people have.  What were the moments?  What was common to those moments?  How might those moments become a more intentional part of life?  What if that process starts expanding those moments for more people?  Might culture and society transform?

In this episode of the Thriveology Podcast, Martin gets me to discuss my moment of heaven on earth… and how I might bring that moment more into my own life.  We discuss the power of three simple questions, the power of dialogue, and the need for cultural transformation right now.  In this moment.  Perhaps a shift to a moment of heaven on earth?

Listen to the episode below.

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