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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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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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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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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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.

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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.

 

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Stressed Out? Here’s Why…

WhyWeStressThese days are filled with stress. The pandemic, politics, relationships, work, pay, weather. You name it, these are stressful times.

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.

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 to discover what stress really is… and what we can do about it.

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