The word thrive comes from the Old Norse word thrīfask, meaning “to grasp for oneself.” To thrive isn’t just to survive. It is to grow strong, prosper and succeed. It is being in tune with yourself and flourishing!
Before the holiday break, so many of my clients continued to share how drained they were from their ridiculously long hours and demands at work. The impact on their physical, mental, and emotional well-being was apparent and many expressed they were close to burnout.
I pondered on how long hours of endless work have turned so many of us from human beings into human doers! Our sense of identity, confidence, and self-worth has become interwoven with the need to constantly deliver, compete and achieve. There is little time for reflection, self-care or personal enjoyment.
How sustainable is this relentless cycle?
What if you could step off the treadmill of constant doing and explore how you can be aligned to your true nature and purpose of being. How will this enable you to move from surviving to thriving this year?
I know I have had to take a long hard look at this myself over the Christmas break. After 2 years of having received a gift of horse riding classes, I have finally given myself the permission to take up a passion I had in my teens. Initially, I felt indulgent and guilty for having fun in the middle of a working week. Now, I know that the hour away changes how I think, feel and operate. I am more alive, creative, and bring more presence to my clients. This is just one thing I have allowed myself to add to my life.
So how can you start your journey towards thriving?
I often suggest to clients to write down their ideal life. Most people find this exercise a difficult one. Guilt or fear kicks in straight away. This is often prefixed with “I should be doing X instead” or “I can’t let Y down” or “I haven’t got time”.
If you really want to thrive and are struggling to give yourself permission to do so, try this. Imagine you had a magic wand, and you allowed yourself to create your perfect life. Come on, play along. You will be surprised by what you discover.
- First of all what would you be doing? Your current job or something different?
- How many days would you ideally like to be working in a week?
- How many hours in each day? What would each day look like?
- What activities would you do to enhance your mental, physical and emotional well-being?
- How much sleep would you like to have to function optimally?
- What else would you like to be doing to enrich your life?
Here are some answers shared to the above questions:
Thriving in Jobs
Some of my clients speak of wanting to lead companies at very senior positions and make a difference there. Others dream of changing careers for something they feel will bring them greater fulfilment and happiness. Some have new visions and look to become entrepreneurs. Others want to develop their roles further, become Non- Executives or work with charities.
Thriving out of work
I have had clients who share how they want to include hobbies like gardening, playing tennis, reading, joining a choir, exercising, swimming, meditating, nature walks, art classes or just spending more time with pets, family, and friends.
Thriving at home and at work
With Covid 19 changing our working life, I have had clients who negotiate working largely from home so they can live a more relaxed life in the country and avoid hours of commuting. Others want the flexibility of a hybrid culture whilst some look for more opportunities to work with people in the office so they enjoy face to face interactions. The world has changed so much over the last 2 years that we have greater options to play and negotiate with.
Don’t worry at this stage if any of this is possible or not. What is important is that you put them all down, indulge yourself, and have fun with the exercise. What you want to do is give yourself permission to open up a plethora of invigorating choices that will enhance your life.
Now on a separate piece of paper, write down what you currently do in your day. For some of my clients, it literally is work, childcare, and sleep. For others, it is work, work, some exercise, and more work. This is in not a judgment of people’s situations. Each one of us has our unique and individual circumstances to contend or work with. What this exercise allows you to do is to observe your current state and compare it with your desired one.
Look at your ideal list and ask yourself what is the one thing that you can bring to your current list to begin your journey towards thriving. If you are committed to doing this, you will find a way to make it happen.
As the Chinese philosopher, Lao Tze says “ A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.”
What is your first step to nurturing yourself so you can flourish this year?
I know mine is to spend more time with the people who matter to me and build a community of people I can collaborate with, explore fresh ideas and start new and exciting projects with. In this way, I can continue to grow and be of service to others.