Start Here

YouAreHere“Where should I start?”, my client asked.

Lots of times, we want to make changes, we want things to be different.  And sometimes, we want things to be different before we make any changes.

We want a different starting point.

If you’ve ever been at a park or mall, looking at the map to figure out where to go, you might notice that one very important feature, “You Are Here.”  It points to the spot where you are now.

Not where you want to go.  Not where you want to be.

But where you are.

If you are at the mall and see the store you want… on the other side of the mall, you might wish you were standing nearby, near the destination store.  Not all the way across the mall.

But if you are on the other side of the mall, that is where you are.  Navigating to the destination from a closer point — a point where you are NOT — is not likely to be effective.

You start where you are.

And you might just find… it is a pretty good place to start.

Listen to this podcast episode for how to start where you are, and why where you are is a pretty good place to start.

RELATED RESOURCES
Accepting What Is
Limiting Beliefs
Making Changes
Book:  The Immutable Laws of Living

Calm in Crazy Times

Have you seen the meme that caught my eye?:

I really wish I weren’t living through a major historical event right now!

How to stay calm while the world is in chaos, and while you are living through some “historic times."I feel that!  But here is the thing I am realizing — historic events are happening on a very regular basis.  We aren’t living through the first pandemic (nor will it be the last).  This isn’t the first time we have had political upheaval and polarization (nor will it be the last).  This isn’t the first time an unpredictable war has rocked a nation (and unfortunately, it won’t be the last).

I could go on and on.  But you get the point.  We are living through historic events.  As have others, through every other historic event.

Sometimes, I wonder how future generations will look back on us, what we are going through, and how we went through it.  Will they believe they could have done better?  Will they think we learned anything?  I wonder….

We get caught up in worrying about events all around us.  And that can lead to anxiety, frustration, and inaction.  Nothing changes.

As a client told me years ago, “Its not like I’m not doing anything!  I am worrying!” My client felt like that was doing something.  Indeed, her brain was spinning.  But nothing was changing.  Nothing was happening.

How DO you find calm in these crazy times?  We talk about it in this episode of the Thriveology Podcast.  Listen below.

RELATED RESOURCES
The Roots of Worry
What is Stress
Coping with COVID Series
Does Everything Happen for a Reason?

Finding Compassion

The Thrive Code

Over the past 7 episodes, we have been building our Thrive Code.  The code to follow that allows us to thrive, and also the code that runs your system, like computer code.  And we are closing in on the finish line!

How to find compassion.  Build your compassion for others and yourself as a path to thriving.We bring the series to an end in this episode. The final piece of the Thrive Code is all about how we feel about others.  Do we see others as “other” or as connected to us?  Do we use compassion or do we objectify?

I have a built in belief that we are born with compassion.  Babies and children have a natural compassionate response to others in pain.  But many times, people are taught to not have a compassionate response.  We are taught beliefs about why others are having problems.  Often, those beliefs are based in blame and condemnation.

It is no surprise, then, that we are living in a compassion crisis.  Both in terms of compassion for others and self-compassion.

Is there a way back?  Yes!  And it starts with understanding exactly what compassion is, where it comes from, why we lose it, and how we can cultivate it.  Learn more in this episode of the Thriveology Podcast.

Listen below.

RELATED RESOURCES
Challenge
Control
Community
Contribution
Create
Curiosity
Clarity
Lee’s Books

Redux: Merry Stressness!

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 a repeat of last year’s podcast (since we still have that holiday stress!), 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

What Is Stress?

WhyWeStressI bet you hear it as much as I do.  You may even say it.  “I’m so stressed!”  The malady of the modern age.  Stressed out, exhausted, and frustrated.

But what IS stress?

As much as we toss that term around, sometimes almost as a badge of honor, you may not think about what that term is REALLY about.

These days, I tend to push my body, physically.  I take a good long walk in the morning, usually do a workout after that, then go to jiu jitsu 3 to 5 evenings per week.  My body can, indeed, get stressed.

When we talk about “stress,” in everyday life, we are more talking about psychological stress.  Which is really just a term for something else.  Something we’d rather not claim.

But once we recognize what it really is, we can do something about it.  So, let’s figure out why we stress… and what we can do about it.

Listen below to this episode of the Thriveology Podcast.

RELATED RESOURCES
We ALL Have Fears
Your Thriving Body
Dealing With Anxiety
Dealing With Depression
Thrive Principles Book

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.

RELATED RESOURCES
Does Everything Happen for a Reason?
Dealing with Depression
Stuck in Loops
Finding Calm in Chaos
Book:  Thrive Principles

 

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

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?

RELATED RESOURCES
Carol Dweck’s book, Mindset
Podcast on Growth
Podcasts on Coping with COVID

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

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