No-Bull Ways To Change Your Life

TransformYourLifeNoWooWooMy coaching client was wanting to thrive.  He told me he was constantly studying about self-growth.  But he wanted to really transform his life.  And, he told me, so much of what he was reading was, to quote him, “woo-woo stuff.”  He used that term as a reference to ideas he thought were “out there.”

So first, let me just say, what is “out there” to one person is commonplace and sensible to another.  But I knew what he was saying.  He wanted to change things in his life… but he wanted it based in research and reliability.  He wanted to get it down to the basics.

I told him we could easily look at the “low hanging fruit,” the easy things to accomplish — the ones that give the biggest bang for the effort… pretty much guaranteed.

In this episode of the Thriveology Podcast, I outline 4 areas to improve, all in very “non-woowoo” ways… and very simple ways… so that you can get the biggest bang for your efforts.

Listen in for the details!

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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.

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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.

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Responsibility vs. Blame

Responsibility in a culture of blame.Blame is rampant in today’s world.  We all quickly point the finger at someone/something else, proclaiming, “It’s not my fault!”

Interestingly, I also notice how rampant it is for people to take the credit for successes.

They/we claim credit for what goes right but refuse blame for anything that goes wrong.

We live in a “culture of blame.”

Which is what often keeps us from growing.  From changing.  From learning from our mistakes.  If someone/something else is to blame, what could I (or you) do?  Not my fault… not my problem.

Change requires us to change the equation.  To take responsibility, when we are responsibible.  To share credit when others deserve credit.

Great leadership is about accepting ultimate responsibility for mistakes and problems, while giving credit for successes.

So, how do we turn the equation around?  I discuss it in this week’s Thriveology Podcast.

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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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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.

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Not Winning or Losing, But Learning or Learning

Win or lose... or learn and learn.I don’t know about you, but I was raised around competition.  Not so much from my parents, but from culture.  In school, you compete in all sorts of tasks… trying to prove how smart, how good, how talented, how athletic, how whatever you are… compared to the others.

It doesn’t stop there, but keeps on going.  Win or lose.  That’s all that matters.  Well, winning.  That’s what matters.

Remember Ricky Bobby from the movie, Talladega Nights? “If you ain’t first, you’re last!”  In other words, you win… or you have lost.

(Do remember, though, that at another point in the movie, Ricky Bobby is talking with his Dad… and gets challenged:
Ricky Bobby: “Wait, Dad. Don’t you remember the time you told me ‘If you ain’t first, you’re last’?”
Reese Bobby: “Huh? What are you talking about, Son?”
Ricky Bobby: “That day at school.”
Reese Bobby: “Oh hell, Son, I was high that day. That doesn’t make any sense at all, you can be second, third, fourth… hell you can even be fifth.”
Ricky Bobby: “What? I’ve lived my whole life by that!”
There you go… a first… a quote in a Will Ferrell movie to make a point about thriving!)

We grow up on that whole “win or learn” thing… which ties us tightly to our ego.  If we win, ego boost.  If we lose, ego bruise.  What will others think??

Maybe it is worth making a shift.

Nelson Mandela said, “I never lose. I either win or I learn.” When you don’t win, you can learn! Great shift.  “Losing” is an opportunity for learning.  When you don’t win, there is an opportunity for growth, for learning… for being better.

But it is still bound by ego. What if it isn’t even the win? But the learn? Then, we either learn… or we learn.

Listen to this episode for more on winning/losing versus learning/learning.

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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.

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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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