4 Strategies For Moving From Struggle To Thriving: #47 Thriveology Podcast

Move from Struggle To ThrivingEvery person has circumstances that knock them down.

A Japanese proverb says,

Fall down seven times, get up eight.

We can’t stop the circumstances.  They just happen.  You don’t have to seek them out.  They will come.

Illness, job loss, relationships ending, business loss, deaths, and any other life circumstances happen.  That is the nature of life.

A thriving life is not about what happens to you, but how you respond.

Do you grow through the struggles or do you shrink from it?  Do you rise up, or do you stay down?  Do you grow, or do you flee?

Yes, we all have grief from the losses.  No question, we feel the grief.  The question is, what do you do after the grief?  How do you take on the struggles, make them challenges, and learn to triumph?

In today’s podcast, I give you 4 strategies to help you shift from victim to victor, and move from struggle to triumph.

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Damaged, Resilient, or Thriving? #30 Thriveology Podcast

Are you damaged, resilient, or thriving?For a century or so, our culture has become increasingly “psychologized.”  Something bad happens to you, your psyche is injured, and your option is to realize what happened to you.  That is, generally, the topic of therapy:  discovering the roots of your injury.  In fact, perhaps on a bad day, Sigmund Freud said that the goal of therapy was to move from neurosis to common, ordinary, everyday unhappiness.  Not a particularly lofty goal!  This is a deficit model.

More recently, the model of resilience has taught that some fortunate people can have the same injury, but manage to make it back to “normal.”  Somehow, the trauma does not affect them in a negative way.  This is a “break even model.”

There are a small number of voices that have realized that every injury is truly a challenge — an opportunity for growth.  It is possible to take a hurt, pain, tragedy, challenge, or trauma, and use it as a springboard for growth.  This model is the “plus model,” a thriving model.

Which model captures you?  Can you move to (or even more into) a thriving model?  Join me in this week’s podcast to learn about the 3 models and how to move into a thriving model.

Dealing with Roadblocks and Life Knocks: #26 Thriveology Podcast

life roadblocks and how to copeYou can guarantee life will hand you lumps.  You can guarantee there will be roadblocks and tough times.

How will you respond?  Will you believe “this just isn’t meant to be?”  Or will you believe something else is possible?

In this week’s podcast, I share some of my own life struggles and talk about how we can cope better with roadblocks and tough times.

Let’s learn how to thrive better together, and discuss some strategies for dealing with those life challenges.  You CAN face life, even when life seems unfair and challenging.

In fact, a thriving mindset equips you to thrive EVEN BETTER BECAUSE OF the life struggles, not in spite of.

A Life of Regret or A Life Reset?: #24 Thriveology Podcast

A life of regret or a life reset.Regret.  It keeps us locked in the past.  Yet we all struggle to let it go.  Why?

If I had a friend that told me what I tell myself about my past short-fallings, mistakes, and missed opportunities, I would send them away.  I would never speak to them again.

So why do we listen to that voice that keeps reminding us of the past?  Why do we stay trapped by what has happened and can’t be changed?

Or perhaps more importantly, what can we do to make a shift?  How can we go from a life of regret to a life reset?

In this podcast, I explore 5 steps to leave regret behind and make a life reset.

Join me, won’t you?

Are We Allergic To Struggle?: #22 Thriveology Podcast

Are we allergic to struggle?  Or do we just misunderstand what struggle means?

Do you find yourself avoiding or embracing struggle?

Perhaps a shift in mindset will give you a shift in life.  Living a life of impact cannot happen — thriving cannot happen — when we avoid struggles.

Instead of embracing struggle, discover how to embrace a challenge in this week’s podcast.

Fear Series, Part 1: Authentic versus Existential Fear — Thriveology Podcast

dealing with fear and thrivingFear:  it is not just a figment of our imaginations.  Sometimes, we need to be afraid.

But the need to be afraid, the reaction to a very real threat, is much less common than when our irrational, existential fears kick in.  When that happens, we live small.

In today’s podcast, we take a look at what happens when fear rules our day.  We look at the roots of the conflict.  Are we predator?  Are we prey?  Because we are both, we are left with some remnants of fear avoidance.

That little voice whispering for you to play small, to not take action, to not pursue a life you crave?  That is fear talking.  Fear is pretending to be your friend.  But your fear is betraying you and keeping you stuck.

Learn how to identify the fear for what it is and take action to limit fear in your life.

Let me know what you think in the comments area below!

Your Brain & Thriving: Thriveology Podcast Episode 2

Did you know you have 3 brains in your head?  And there seems to be some disagreement on who is in charge.

Does your lizard, your mammal, or your human brain run your life?  You may be surprised to discover just who is in charge — and why that makes it a challenge to thrive!

In spite of your brain, you can learn to set fear aside and learn to thrive.

Join me for this podcast, as we explore the role your brain plays in your thriving life!

Misunderstanding Forgiveness

A recent AP Story:

Families can’t forgive Nebraska mall shooter

Nebraska Mall Shooting

Nebraska Mall Shooting

OMAHA, Neb. – Christmas decorations are in place and holiday music fills
the atrium, yet a gloom punctuates the shopping season at the Westroads
Mall.

Employees, their families and friends planned to gather Friday at the steps
of the Von Maur department store in remembrance of the eight people killed
a year ago in the deadliest mall shooting in U.S. history.

“I carry the visible signs of Dec. 5,” said 62-year-old Fred Wilson, who
nearly died that day. “Other employees saw things I didn’t. They may carry
their wounds on the inside.”

Wilson went back to work part-time at the mall after Memorial Day. He says
there was never any question in his mind that he should be there.

He can no longer wrap gifts at work – his right arm is still in a sling,
and he can barely move his fingers.

“I came to a degree of forgiveness … when I was in the hospital,” Wilson
said. He tries to help others learn how to forgive, speaking at churches
and schools and seminars.

“I was blessed to have lived,” he said. For those whose loved ones did not,
he understands it’s a different story.

Nineteen-year-old Robert Hawkins gunned down eight people on Dec. 5, 2007,
before turning the gun on himself.

Hawkins entered the Von Maur department store in west Omaha and briefly
looked around before exiting. He returned a few minutes later with an
assault-style rifle hidden under his sweatshirt.

He took an elevator to the third floor and opened fire.

Police found no connection between Hawkins and his targets, only a suicide
note that said he wanted “to take a few peices (sic) of (expletive) with
me.”

The upscale department store, decked with Christmas decorations, lost six
employees that day. Two customers also were killed.

Ron Jorgensen lost his wife of “50 years and three months.” Her voice
remains on his telephone answering machine. The American flag continues to
wave at half-staff in his front yard.

“I’ve lost everything,” he said. “I will never forgive Robbie Hawkins or
his parents.”

Greg O’Neil prefers not to even speak Hawkins’ name.

“I don’t know when, or if ever I’ll ever be able to forgive him,” he said.
“I can’t even put those words into a sentence including that person.”

O’Neil worked at Von Maur as a loss-prevention manager for nearly five
years before finding a new job in 2006, so he knew most of the people
killed or injured. He left his job so he could date employee Angie Schuster
without violating company rules. They later got engaged.

“Just remembering her smile. Oh, her smile,” he said. Her belongings still
fill his home. He visits her grave every couple of weeks.

On Friday, Von Maur employees have the option of taking the day off, said
company president Jim von Maur.

“We don’t want to put pressure on those employees who don’t feel they can
do it,” he said.

In Moline, Ill., the family of the youngest victim planned to gather to
remember the good times they had with Maggie Webb, who also worked at the
store.

“We’re going to encourage friends and family to light a candle,” said
Webb’s sister, Bre Clark. “And we’re going to light a bonfire and shine a
light to her in heaven.”

But forgiveness isn’t likely to be mentioned. Clark doesn’t believe she
could offer that to Hawkins.

“I honestly believe forgiveness is something that the killer needs to ask
for from the Lord and not from me,” she said.

Hawkins was well-known in the state’s juvenile courts and social services
agencies. A habitual drug user and troublemaker, he was in and out of
foster homes.

During his time as a state ward, he was diagnosed with depression,
attention deficit disorder, impulsiveness and a malady characterized by
hostility toward authority figures. He was convicted of third-degree
assault and attempting to sell drugs at school.

Hawkins spent four years in a series of treatment centers, group homes and
foster care after threatening to kill his stepmother in 2002. Before the
shooting, he had broken up with a girlfriend and lost his job at a
McDonald’s.

A year after Hawkins’ deadly rampage, Von Maur employees try to busy
themselves with the holiday shopping season. Security guards stand on the
balconies. A plaque at the bottom of the escalator memorializes the victims.

By ANNA JO BRATTON and JOSH FUNK     Associated Press Writers

First, let me say that my topic today will upset some folks.  But I will be upsetting most of them out of a misunderstanding of my thrust.  Let me say that I feel great compassion for people who have suffered tragedies.  In fact, I feel so much compassion that it pains me on how much hurt is added to ourselves.

I am not “picking” on the folks involved, and certainly not wanting to make an example out of the victims.  Because the truth is, what I am addressing is so widespread that I would say it is a rampant belief.

Here is the belief:  “I can’t/won’t forgive ______ (fill in the blank) because,” then pick your reason:

  • They don’t deserve it.
  • That lets them off the hook.
  • Then I have to forget it.
  • Life isn’t fair.
  • I want justice.
  • etc., etc., etc.

Let me point out what is behind the belief:  somehow, forgiveness is FOR the other person.

And that is the problem, the fallacy of this.  After helping people to move toward forgiveness, thinking about the topic, teaching on the topic, and trying to apply this to my own life, I have realized their are two paradigms of forgiveness.

  1. I forgive for the other person.
  2. I forgive for myself.

Many of us keep getting caught in paradigm #1.  So let’s explore that for a moment.  This assumption is really built on several factors.

The first factor is biological.  Your brain is designed to keep you alive.  It holds onto threats, locks them in, and is unhappy about letting them go.  So, our biological design is to keep a filing cabinet full of potential and past threats.  But when our thoughts, our mind, grab hold of those threats, we shift them to resentments.  We store them as memories to play over and over in our minds, with a commentary about how we were hurt.

It is one thing to have a brain watching for threats and a mind constantly playing through our hurts.  One is protective.  The other weighs us down.  The first keeps us safe, the second keeps us captive.

Then we have all the religious and cultural messages about how we “have to forgive.”  In other words, our culture betrays us and tells us we have to forgive the other person for that other person.  It misses the true message of forgiveness.  Too bad.

You see, in this case, the truth is behind door #2.  We forgive for ourselves.  We choose to forgive so that we can move forward.

I am reminded here of one of Buddhism’s understandings:  every life has joys and every life has pains.  They are inevitable.  Suffering is optional.  Suffering is becoming attached to the pains.

That is what NOT forgiving is about.  When we refuse to forgive (it is a choice, whether we recognize that or not), we are attaching ourselves to our pain.  We end up suffering.

Forgiveness is about refusing to be held captive from what has happened.  It is choosing to move forward, to take back our lives from tragedy.  It is refusing to lose ourselves to what has happened.  It is about choosing the life we want to live.

In this context, there is nothing that is unforgivable, because it is no longer about holding the other accountable (in this case, a dead man), but in choosing to move forward.

The whole notion of something as unforgivable is caught in the paradigm that forgiveness is for the other person.  That traps us.  And generally, it has no effect on the other person.

Let me be clear:  people have to work through their grief at their own pace.  At some point, for there to be real healing, forgiveness must be part of the process.  And anytime we slow that process down because we have convinced ourselves that forgiveness is for the other person, we have merely increased our pain.

To forgive is to set a prisoner free and discover the prisoner was you.—Unknown

He who cannot forgive breaks the bridge over which he himself must pass.–George Herbert

Resentment is like a glass of poison that a man drinks; then he sits down and waits for his enemy to die.—Unknown

It Ain’t About Happiness!

The last couple of years have led to an avalanche of books on happiness. It seems that we are in a “happiness” epidemic. Specials on TV (20/20 had a recent show, for example), and articles in magazines all point to our capacity for happiness.

This is NOT what I mean by Thriving! Understand, I don’t think people should avoid happiness. I just don’t think that is the target to aim for. We have started using happiness as the goal, not the side-effect.

And that is why the “happiness movement” will fail. Happiness ends up being elusive, difficult to control, and open to a wide range of definitions. In fact, I think we have reduced any chance of happiness now being a useful term. Some use the idea of euphoria as a definition, others are describing joy and contentment but say happiness, and still others are really looking for that fleeting feeling.

You see, I believe that happiness is actually an external reference. In other words, something has to happen “out there” for me to be happy. Perhaps living in a bigger house, living in different geological location, having other gadgets, finding a new love, or some other change will make me happy. But I have only so much control of the “out there.” And research is showing that in lots of ways, we have a certain “set point.” When something good or bad happens, within a year to year-and-a-half, we return to our previous level of happiness (or unhappiness).

But thriving, that is an internal activity. I can choose to follow a thriving life, regardless of what is going on around me. I don’t have to have new stuff, new love, or a new house to be thriving. And since it is about forming habits of thriving, I can raise my base level of thriving over and over. I can continue to push forward and learn to thrive, IN SPITE of life events. I really can choose to thrive.

Try to choose to be happy. You may be able to do that in the short-term, but it is hard to sustain. But thriving, that is sustainable and achievable by anyone.

So, to say it clearly, Happiness DOES NOT EQUAL Thriving.

HAPPINESS                                             THRIVING
External                                                 Internal
Short-Term                                           Long-Term
Feeling                                                  Action
Set-Point                                               Base-Point