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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Learning and Life
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Book:  Thrive Principles
 

After the Apology

BeyondApologyYou apologize.  Now what?

Are you finished?  Is it now up to the person to whom you apologized?

Nope.  That is only one part of the process.

Understand that apologies, forgiving, reconciliation, and trust are all separate functions.  Each is tied to the other, but independent.  Forgiving does not require an apology.  An apology does not mandate forgiveness.  You can apologize or forgive, and still not reconcile.  And in the end, it is a choice to trust or not.

So, let’s step back into what you can do, so that you can “clear the air” and move forward.  In other words, to make sure you do your part.

I suggest 6 steps to this process, and I cover each one in this episode of the podcast.

Listen below.

RELATED RESOURCES:
Anatomy Of An Apology
Forgive Resources
Making Change
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Departure Conversations

So far, life has a 100% mortality rate.  We are not getting out of this alive!  You and I, and everyone we know, will face the inevitable moment of losing loved ones, and facing our own death.

And yet, we live in a culture that would rather NOT look at this reality.  Would rather NOT pay attention to this fact.  Would rather NOT think about those end-of-life issues… at least until we are forced to.

Over more than the past year, there has been a daily toll of death and loss.  It has been in our face in an inescapable way for many long months.

But I wonder if this has changed the conversations in any important ways about our own (and our loved one’s) death and dying.

Willy Donaldson, Author of Estimated Time of Departure.Willy Donaldson realized that he had to have some tough conversations with his parents.  In spite of his own resistance, and that of his parents, Willy had those conversations, to find out what wishes his parents had about that inescapable time.  It was not just a conversation about the details, but the reasons behind their wishes.  What Willy wanted was to make sure his parents’ wishes were known and understood, not just by the family, but by his parents.

It turned out that those uncomfortable conversations were a gift.  They were moments of understanding and connection.

Those conversations were also a comfort for everyone.  So that that last human moment was understood and out in the open.

This topic became so important that Willy, a business professor, started sharing his story.  That led to a book about those important conversations.  And it led to our interview about those important conversations.  Listen in on this episode of the Thriveology Podcast, as Willy and I discuss those end-of-life conversations and why they are so important.

RELATED RESOURCES:
Estimated Time of Departure Website
Moving Through Grief
Does Everything Happen For A Reason?
Order, Disorder, Reorder

 

The SSC Strategy for Changing Your Life

StartStopContinueHave you heard of Kaizen?  It is the principle of continuous improvement.

Continuous improvement is a great model for change.  It is based on constant changes toward a better outcome.  No need for sudden upheaval or change (although that is sometimes necessary).  Instead, course corrections are made along the way, nudging something toward improvement.

That “something”?  It might be a product (like Japanese automobiles, where Kaizen became the method of them becoming excellent automobiles), companies, or even individuals.

But how, you might wonder, do you actually DO that continuous improvement?

Let me offer a super-simple tool that you can apply to your own life, to your company or workplace, or even to a relationship or organization.

SSC – Start, Stop, Continue

Three benchmarks:  What do you need to Start?  What do you need to Stop?  What do you need to Continue?

In this week’s episode, I discuss how to apply SSC to your own life… and to other areas in your life.

Listen in for a new tool.

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Dealing with Change
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Paradigms
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Do You Believe Your Thoughts?

DontBelieveThinkThose thoughts, they get us into trouble, don’t they?

We keep looking for that thing that will make us happy. We think we know. We think that thing, that person, that place, that paycheck, position, etc., etc., will finally do it.

Until we get it, get there, have that relationship, or whatever… only to find that it didn’t quite work.

Oh, sure, we might be happy for a brief time. But not the way we thought. That “shiny new object” just didn’t do it. And back to the drawing board we go.

Mostly because we keep thinking that that thing “out there” is going to do it.

Notice that “happy” and “happen” share a root.  Something out there needs to happen in order for us to be happy.

Which is not the path to happiness.  No matter what your thoughts are telling you.

In this podcast episode, I discuss why our thoughts trick us, and what to do instead.

RELATED RESOURCES:
Thoughts are Thoughts
Meaning 
Making An Impact
Happiness?

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.

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Do Things Happen for a Reason?
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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.

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>>Tom’s Website and Book Info<<
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The Growth Mindset
Growth Mindsets for Tough Times
The Power of  a Challenge
Learn or Learn