It’s a question I’ve asked my clients over the years and their answers are always interesting. They vary from “What’s the difference?” to “What is thriving?” And I must admit that for some years I had not distinguished between them either. But as time went on and I trained more people, I started to see a pattern. People talked about wanting to be more successful, yet when asked to tell me more about what success looked like to them, they usually focused on the narrow world of work, career, and / or finance. Other areas of life, such as family, relationship, or health were rarely mentioned, unless I asked specific questions about that area of the afterlife. And interestingly, people who seemed to be very successful often expressed deep-seated unhappiness and dissatisfaction with their lives.
As a result, I began to distinguish between simply being successful and following a prosperous lifestyle. Because for me there is a significant difference. Too often, a successful life is strictly defined by one’s professional status or financial resources. On the other hand, a prosperous life is one in which the person thrives in each and every area of his life. A person who is thriving has a much more holistic approach to his life and knows how to create the synergy that makes his life more than the sum of its individual parts.
They actively focus not only on their career and finances, but also on their family and friends, their health and fitness, ensuring time for fun and recreation, their spiritual life, and their own personal development. These latter areas tend not to be on many people’s radar screen, and when asked what the future holds in these areas, many are left speechless. Unfortunately, if you’ve never thought about something, it’s unlikely that it will just happen, which probably explains why I meet so many people who don’t even know what it means to thrive, let alone how to experience it.
There is a lot written about the stress people live with and the pressure to succeed, however, a good deal of stress can come from the very fact that people are focusing on too narrow a definition of success and ignoring the other areas of life. , areas that are important for an overall healthy lifestyle. Unfortunately, it often takes a major traumatic life event for people to realize that they have been ignoring an important part of their life and for them to look at these other areas, events like job loss, family breakdown , a problem. serious health crisis or death of a family member.
It’s far better to address these areas before a traumatic event changes your life, which is why one of the first things I generally ask of all clients is to rate how satisfied they are in each of the seven areas mentioned above. However, you don’t need a coach to guide you through this process if you’re truly motivated to thrive – you just need to take a more holistic approach. So if you want to go beyond simple success to a full and prosperous life, follow these six steps:
1. In each of the seven areas, rate your satisfaction on a scale of 0 to 10, where 0 means “sucks” and 10 means you are “totally happy” with that area of your life.
2. Starting with your lowest score, or the one you think has the most influence, identify why you are dissatisfied or unhappy.
3. Now identify what it would take to reduce your dissatisfaction and raise your score by at least ‘2’ points.
4. Based on what you found to be necessary in n. 3, develop a plan to implement the necessary changes required to achieve score improvement.
5. Take action. And keep taking action until you increase your score to a number you’re happy with.
6. Once you are satisfied with the area you are working on, start over at n. 1 and repeat the process with a new area of your life.
A word of caution: don’t try to make changes to more than one area at a time. Change is difficult, especially when it comes to a life of habit and its “modus operandi.” You are much more likely to be successful if you take your time and work in only one area at a time. Once you are satisfied with your progress in that area, you can move on to another area.
Good luck, and believe me when I tell you, if you shift your focus from simply succeeding to thriving, you’ll be glad you did.
© 2012 Karen Switzer-Howse. All rights reserved.