All the Way to Thriving

A Natural Progression

In your twenties, working is mainly about learning the ropes, trying to fit in, and figuring out how to pay the rent on time. When you leave this decade, you’ve learned how to survive in what is called the real world.

The 30’s career progression involves achieving that next level: building your expertise, becoming recognized for certain skills, and raising your financial standards. There may be some intermittent feelings of, “Is this really it?” but you move along as the rewards come just in time to quiet your uncertainty.

In the 40’s and 50’s, a restlessness often surfaces and eventually becomes undeniable, especially if not tended to previously. It feels disconcerting because on the one hand, you appreciate what you have, yet you also recognize that there is something missing. The desire to make a difference and express your talents in a new way becomes stronger.

Is this everybody’s story? No, however at one time or another, most people grapple with balancing the need to survive, the drive to achieve, and the search for meaning and fulfillment. While these factors don’t always track with the decades, there is a natural progression. Social philosopher and management consultant, Charles Handy, believes that after the stages of survival and achievement, the individuals and organizations that are most successful ultimately increase their focus on what they have to uniquely contribute to society.

Where Are You?

Picture a spectrum with the “colors” of:

Surviving -- Accomplishment -- Success -- Fulfillment -- Purpose -- Meaning -- Thriving

photo of color spectrumWhere are you on this spectrum? Are some colors bright and others barely visible? Thriving goes beyond success and is something you define for yourself. It includes having a sense of purpose, being yourself, and delighting in the impact you are making.

The Decision To Go All The Way

The decision to thrive is one that takes you to places you cannot imagine from here. It is a commitment to go all the way, to settle for no less than life can give you… and that you can give to life. One of the most gratifying parts of my current role as a coach is being able to witness someone making the conscious decision to thrive: to define what that means, to take action, and to allow it to happen. In the next issue, I’ll share one woman’s definition of thriving and what she’s doing about it.

This Week: Define what thriving means to you.

  • What comes to mind when you picture yourself “going all the way to thriving” (in your work and in life)?

  • What stops you from thriving?

  • What do you need to move forward?

  • What is the next step?

It is never too late to decide to thrive.

Here's to you,
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