Change in the Shadow of Terror

Surviving 9/11 and Finding Meaning

Kushal Choksi survived 9/11 and found his purpose.Sometimes, success comes from being at the right place at the right time.  Sometimes, tragedy comes from being at the wrong place at the wrong time.  But what happens when you are at the right place at the wrong time?

For Kushal  Choksi, it saved his life.  It was September 11, 2001.  Kushal was running late, and rushing to get to a meeting in the World Trade Towers.  He was racing through the mezzanine when a horrific impact jarred him and threw the world into chaos.  What had happened?  What should they do?

Some people were frozen in place.  Others were fleeing the building.  Still others were simply trying to get back to their day, oblivious to the danger that was mounting.  Choksi headed for the door, but was met by a security guard who was imploring people to return to the building.  Given the debris raining down, that made some sense.

But before he could turn, another voice and a strong hand on his shoulder said, “No, get out!”  Kushal did.  That decision saved his life.

And that day completely reordered Choksi’s life.  He was lost for some time after.  What seemed like the recipe for success was floundering.  It was not just about being wealthy and powerful.  Somehow, the “American Dream” no longer seemed the goal.

What then?

After much seeking, Kushal found his way forward with new tools for dealing with his anxiety and fears.  And that led him to another path of success.

In this episode of the Thriveology Podcast, as we approach the 20th anniversary of that horrific attack, I had a chance to sit down with Kushal and talk about meaning, purpose, breath, and mindfulness.

Listen below.

RELATED RESOURCES:
Kushal Choksi’s Website
Amazon Link to Kushal’s book, On A Wing And A Prayer
Free of Fear Series
Breathe
Order, Disorder, Reorder

Dealing with Criticism

Dealing With Criticism and Making Feedback Helpful.I don’t know anyone who really likes criticism.  Well, at least receiving criticism.  I do know some people who seem to relish dishing out criticism!  You probably know some, too.

But criticism can be important feedback.  And feedback can help us to make changes in ourselves and our habits.  They can help us change harmful or unhelpful parts of our lives into more productive and healthy parts.

Which means we have a problem.  We don’t like getting criticized.  But that criticism might just hold some important information for transformation.

One of the coaches on my staff once remarked on some rather critical feedback from a client, that she had received some “free coaching.”  It took a few moments to get away from a defensive reaction and toward a helpful reaction.  But my coach made the shift.

First, let me be clear that not all feedback is helpful feedback.  Not all feedback needs your attention.

Which raises the question:  how do you sift through that feedback to decide what to discard and what to keep?  How do you isolate the treasures amidst the trash?  These days, there is a lot of trash to sift.

In this episode of the Thriveology Podcast, I explore a framework from feedback coach, Shanita Williams.  Her sifting strategy can help you find the useful and release the useless feedback.

Listen below.

RELATED RESOURCES:
Williams’ Feedback Mentality website
Book:  Feedback Mentality
Clean Pain vs. Dirty Pain
When Your Ego Trips You Up

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.

RELATED RESOURCES
Learning and Life
Ways to Expand
Growth Mindset
Lessons in Jiu Jitsu
Book:  Thrive Principles
 

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.

RELATED RESOURCES
Do Things Happen for a Reason?
We Aren’t Getting Out Alive!
Your Purpose
Thrive Principles Book

How to Be FREE

One day, I was watching some videos (you know how that rabbit hole works) that led me to a video on this interesting sport.  I love water sports, and am frequently daydreaming this time of year about being in warm water.

Prime Hall and Don Tran of Deep End Fitness.I have no idea how that led to this video, but it was a team playing this weird underwater game of hockey/ultimate frisbee/survival thing.  It was the Underwater Torpedo League.

Underwater Torpedo was invented by two former special ops guys.  They used it to help training clients get better at breath holding and calm under stress.  But it sure looked like a blast of a time!  I filed it under “I’d love to do that!”

Fast-forward and I met these two guys.  Turns out they do more than just train some people.  They actually train professional athletes on a regular basis, including MMA, NFL, and even pro surfers.

Prime Hall and Don Tran are the guys behind the game.  But they are also performance coaches outside the pool.  They work with people about performing in life, using their F.R.E.E. Your Mind protocol.  Through their coaching, they help people reduce stress, perform better, and become better versions of themselves.

In this episode, Don and Prime discuss their protocol with me, so that you can make shifts toward higher performance in all of your pursuits.

RELATED RESOURCES
FREE Your Mind Info Website
Underwater Torpedo League Website
What Is Stress?
How To Deal With Stress
 

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.

RELATED RESOURCES
Project Heaven On Earth Website
Finding Hope or Building Hope
Hope in Difficult Times
Doing Your Part
Your Purpose

You Are Built for Impact
MPI Triad

Beginning

Three years ago, at the age of 51, I walked into the jiu jitsu gym.  I wasn’t returning to some skill I learned when I was younger.  I was starting fresh.  As a beginner.  To be honest, I had some idea about what jiu jitsu involved… but I had no idea on how to participate.

I was a beginner!

The fact is, every accomplished person in every single field started the same way.  As a beginner.  It is an unavoidable part of starting anything and learning anything.  And at that point, you don’t even know all the things you don’t know!

Interview with Tom Vanderbilt, journalist and author of the book, Beginners.This is the first discovery of mastery.  The NOT knowing of everything.  So that you can start learning.  It is what the Zen masters refer to as “The Beginner Mind.”  It is the natural state of beginning, and a good mindset to nurture throughout life, even as mastery comes in other areas.

Which is why it is interesting that many adults hit a point in life when they are unwilling to start new, to become the beginner.  And unfortunately, that cuts off the path of growth.  It holds us back from new experiences and new learning.

My guest on this episode is Tom Vanderbilt, accomplished journalist and author, and intentional beginner.  His recent book, Beginnings, recounts Tom’s decision and path on learning some new skills and interests.  He decided to learn to play chess, draw, sing, juggle, and surf.  He even learned how to make a titanium wedding band to replace the ones lost learning to surf.

In this episode, Tom and I discuss the process of learning, the Beginner’s Mind, why we struggle to reengage with beginning, and how to do it anyway.  We also discuss the powerful advantage to the learning process, straight through adulthood.

Tom’s book is a must-read, since growth and learning are Thrive Principle skills for thriving people.

Listen in below.

RELATED RESOURCES
>>Tom’s Website and Book Info<<
Lessons Learned in Jiu Jitsu
MORE Lessons Learned in Jiu Jitsu
Even More Lessons Learned in Jiu Jitsu
Still Even MORE Lessons Learned in Jiu Jitsu
The Growth Mindset
Growth Mindsets for Tough Times
The Power of  a Challenge
Learn or Learn

 

From the Projects to Ping Pong

Profile in Thriving

Wally Green, world class table tennisHow does a young man from the projects end up playing table tennis in North Korea… on a diplomacy mission?

How he ended up there is not much different than how Wally Green ended up in Germany, becoming a world-class ping pong player, after leaving his gang past behind.

I “met” Wally on a Zoom call with lots of others and knew I needed to have him on Thriveology.  I wanted to talk with him because he had a  handle on thriving.  Not because he was making life look easy.  But because he was taking life on.

As a child, Wally was faced with domestic violence at home and gang violence outside.  Even though he threw himself into sports as an escape, he didn’t escape gang life.  As he noted, it was a matter of survival.

But guess was really saved Wally’s life?  Table tennis.

How did he get there?  Because he broke a stolen pool cue.  And he took out his frustration on someone playing table tennis.  One thing led to another… and there he was in North Korea.

Really, Wally is the one who needs to tell the story.  And he does, as I interview him in this episode of the Thriveology Podcast.  You can listen below.

RELATED RESOURCES
Wally Green’s Website
Your Resilience Muscle
Damaged, Resilient, or Thriving?

 

The Introvert Advantage

Just for transparencey, I am an introvert.  And for much of my life, I found that frustrating when around others.  I felt like a deer in headlights.  How do I start a conversation?  How do I avoid not going way too deep with a conversation?  And working a room?  Makes me sweat, just to think about that.

But is there any advantage to the introvert?  Is there a place where introversion can be a gift…an advantage?

Well, of course.  But most introverts don’t really see it.  We just feel the frustration of watching extroverts navigate a party easily, find success in networking, and seem to be at ease in the public.

Matthew Pollard, author of The Introverts AdvantageBut what if that group included some true introverts who have managed to look extroverted?  And what if those really aren’t strong parameters for success, anyway?

On this episode, my guest is Matthew Pollard, serial entrepreneur, public speaker, author, and… introvert.  Matthew’s recent book is about how introverts can actually have the advantage in networking.

In our conversation, Matthew does a great job of defining introversion, debunks some myths around introverts, and lays out a way for introverts to use their natural way of being into a success advantage.

Listen below.

RELATED RESOURCES:
Matthew Pollard’s Website
Go Here for the Free Chapter

 

The Power of Choice

We all have the power of choice. How do we choose?The world seems to be careening forward these days.  It can feel like we are just holding on for dear life.

But are we?

Sure, there are events that we can’t stop or prevent.  Weather comes.  Accidents happen.  Others make choices that impact us….

Wait.  Back up there.  Did you see that?  Others are making choices.  And so can we.  Not a choice on whether or not something happens.  But a choice on how we respond to it.

Each year, I choose a single word to guide my year.  This year, the word is Creator.  That does tend to be a large portion of my job these days… creating podcasts, writing books and articles, creating online courses.  Even coaching is a creative process, working to help others access their power to create.  Their power to choose.

This has me reflecting on a daily basis, on exactly how I am going to be creator to my day.  What choices do I make that create my day?  What choices do I make that allow me to create?

Am I in full control?  No.  Nobody is.  But that doesn’t mean I don’t have choices.  The question is not where I don’t have a choice, but where I do… and don’t act.

Let’s find the power of choice in 2021.

Listen in to the podcast below.

RELATED RESOURCES
Your Points of Control
Dealing with Triangles
The MPI Triad
Book:  Thrive Principles – 15 Strategies for Building a Thriving Life