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. . .

RELATED RESOURCES:
Moving Through Grief
Living The Big Stuff with Kristine Carlson

How to Break Out of a Rut

Stuck in a rut?  How to break free in this episode of the Thriveology Podcast.We all have times in life where we just feel… stuck… in a rut.  Life on repeat.  Another day, another week, another month, another year clicks by, same ol’ same ol’.

That is the definition of a rut, just moving forward on a path of least resistance, unable to change direction or shift focus.  A rut.

For many, this pandemic has been one big rut, stuck going forward, time passing by but little changing.

Can you get free from a rut?  Can you break out of a rut?

Yes, you can!

In this episode of the Thriveology Podcast, I explore the nature of a rut, deciding if you are really stuck in a rut (or just resting), and how to break out of the rut.

Listen in below.

RELATED RESOURCES
Order, Disorder, Reorder
Changing Limiting Beliefs
The Thrive Journal

 

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.

RELATED RESOURCES
Dealing with Grief
When to Act, How to Accept
Is the Present Perfect?
Book:  The 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

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.

RELATED RESOURCES:
Coping with COVID Series
Finding or Building Hope
Moving Through Grief

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

Ease <==> Dis-Ease

Finding your ease when the days are filled with scary stuff.  Don’t let the fear keep you from thriving.“So, I guess it is pretty tough to thrive these days, isn’t it?” a friend remarked.  He was assuming that, in order to thrive, life must be going well.  Everything in place, and everything humming along.

Sure, those are nice days.  And yes, they represent easier moments.  But thriving is not just about having things go well.  It is possible to thrive, in spite of what life is throwing your way.

Or maybe because of what life is throwing at you.

And wow, life is really throwing it at us these days, isn’t it?  Yesterday marked the one year anniversary since the first COVID case made it to the States.  We’ve been living with that virus now for a year.  Then throw in the economic struggles, thanks to the virus.  Then toss in a little political struggle, some social unrest.  These are challenging days!

And if we aren’t careful, we can let media (social and otherwise) keep us hyped up on fear and dread.

Or we can find our place of calm.  Our spot of ease.

In this episode of Thriveology Podcast, I cover the space between Un-Ease, Dis-Ease, and Ease.  How to make the shift.

RELATED RESOURCES
The Coping with COVID series
Dealing with Stress
Finding Calm
Better Breathing

Starting Your Day Strong
Ending Your Day Better
My Books on Thriving

 

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

Your Path into the New Year

What is your path into the new year?Wow!  What a year it has been!  And many people have asked how I can possibly speak about thriving when it just feels like we are surviving.

But that is the point!  Thriving is not what we learn when everything is going well, when life is just humming along.  We learn to thrive when we take on the challenge of the tough stuff!  When we decide that surviving is not enough.  Growing and changing, challenging and surmounting.  Those are where we learn the skills of thriving.

Then, when things are a bit easier… a lul in the action… we can breathe and enjoy.

Which brings us to the cusp of a new year.  When 2020 started, most of us were unprepared for the last 9 or 10 months… but it was already in motion.  Now, as we look down the path of the New Year, change is once again in motion.  For us to get “back to life.” Even though life never really went away.  We didn’t go into suspended animation.

Many of us made changes; many held on for dear life.  But innovation is all around us.  Evidence of what we humans do in the face of challenge, when we rise to the challenge.

In this episode of the podcast, you catch me mid-run, on one of my favorite trails, just a few days before New Years.  I wanted to reflect a bit, encourage a bit, and point us all down a path that is coming, regardless.

What path will you take into the New Year?  Listen in below.

 

RELATED RESOURCES
COVID Podcast Series
Habits Series
One Word Resolution
MPI Triad
Make It Matter
Thrive Principles Book

Merry Stressness and Happy Blue Year!

Merry Stress-ness and Happy Holi-daze! Dealing with holiday stress this Christmas season.And just like that, the Holiday season is upon us! All the hustle and bustle. All the events. All the demands… in the midst of a time that you want to be enjoyable, meaningful, and manageable!

Why the stress?

In this week’s Thriveology Podcast, I discuss the causes of holiday stress. But more importantly, I cover the ways to cope with holiday stress.

Don’t let stress rob you of the deeper meanings and connections of this holiday season.

RELATED RESOURCES
Why We Stress
5 Ways to Shift from Stressful to Restful
Deepening the  Holidays
Book:  Thrive Principles